Elephant Tramples Crowd At Religious Festival After Going On Rampage

Joshua RogersJoshua Rogers in News, World
Published 09.09.19

Elephant injuries at least seventeen people at religious festival in Sri Lanka after going on rampage

This is the shocking moment an elephant went on a rampage during a Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka.

TV footage of the parade shows one of the elephants bolting from a group of people before trampling bystanders as it ran down the road.

Those in attendance can be seen fleeing and crushed as the man riding on the elephant’s back narrowly avoids being trampled after being shaken off the animal’s head.

Starting from a 600-year-old Buddhist temple, the annual street pageant or Perahera, sees dancers and elaborately decorated elephants parade through the streets of Kotte.

The procession starts with a government minister placing a sacred relic on a decorated casket atop an elephant adorned with shiny red clothing.

At least seventeen people were injured in the melee, including women and at least two children. Further footage shows just how dangerous the incident was (at around the 5:30 mark).

According to local media reports, the injured are receiving treatment at the Kalubowila Teaching Hospital, the Colombo General Hospital, and the Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital.

It is another elephant-related controversy for Sri Lanka after pictures emerged showing an emaciated elephant at the Perahera Festival – a Buddhist festival usually featuring fire-breathers, dancers and elephants.

Said elephants are usually covered head to toe in ceremonial robes, shrouding their bodies, with these gowns covering up the animals’ mistreatment. However, recent images have exposed the truth.

Tikiri is a 70-year-old elephant that is chained up every night after taking part in the festival – one of 6o-or-so – and the pictures of her show the extend of the abuse.

Save Elephant Foundation, set up by Thailand’s ‘elephant whisperer’ Lek Chailert, are responsible for the pictures going viral, explaining on Facebook:

This is Tikiri, a 70 year old ailing female.

“She is one of the 60 elephants who must work in the service of the Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka this year.

“Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke.

“She walks many kilometres every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony.

“No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume.

This is Tikiiri, a 70 year old ailing female. She is one of the 60 elephants who must work in the service of the…

Posted by Save Elephant Foundation on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

People who object to the treatment of Tikiri and many other elephants in the same condition have been urged to write to Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, pleading for the cruelty to be brought to a stop.

With World Elephant Day two days ago on the 12th of August, SEF added:

We need your continued support and your voice to stop the abuse and slavery of these majestic giants.

“Let’s use World Elephant Day to be the voice for the voiceless.”

Let’s hope action can be taken immediately to ensure Tikiri enjoys the rest of her life in comfort.