It’s because of these gowns that abusive owners get away with mistreating their elephants, with recent photos exposing the harrowing 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.
The elephant appears to be totally emaciated, with her ribs clearly showing through her skin, which looks particularly raw on her trunk.
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.
“No one sees the tears in her eyes, injured by the bright lights that decorate her mask; no one sees her difficulty to step as her legs are short-shackled while she walks.
“For a ceremony, all have the right to belief as long as that belief does not disturb or harm another.
“How can we call this a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives to suffer [sic]?
“We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable.
“To love, to do no harm, to follow a path of kindness and compassion, this is the Way of Buddha. It is time to follow.“
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 that Tikiri can be freed from her shackles and enjoy the remainder of her live in comfort and care.
Images via Getty, Save Elephant Foundation
Alfie Powell joined as an apprentice and was probably hired because he was likely the only person who applied. He's been blagging his way through writing articles for four years now and he's definitely showing signs of slowing down. When not writing for The Hook, Alfie finds time to indulge in his favourite hobbies, such as drinking and sitting down.Follow