Elderly skeletal elephant spared Sri Lanka parade

Colombo: A skeletal 70-year-old elephant has been withdrawn from a high-profile annual Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka following a social media firestorm against parading the feeble animal.
The chief custodian of the Temple of the Tooth — which organises the event — Pradeep Nilanga Dela said Tikiri would not be part of Wednesday’s grand finale, involving dozens of jumbos.
Dela said the elephant’s “medical condition” meant her owners told him she would not be part of Kandy city’s parade and told AFP by telephone, “Tikiri is being treated.”Animal-lovers lambasted the authorities for forcing the aged animal to parade several kilometers (miles) wearing elaborate clothing at the hugely popular night festival.
Asian elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene described the animal’s treatment as inhumane.
“Owners parade their elephants to gain merit for themselves and not for the animal. This should never have been allowed,” he said, adding he was relieved she would not be paraded.
Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, said on social media that spectators do not realise how weak Tikiri was because she was covered in an elaborate costume. — AFP