After images of a emaciated elephant triggered social media outrage, a new picture has emerged which showed the pachyderm lying on its side. An update shared by a Thailand-based animal welfare organisation has raised fears over the welfare of the elephant named Tikiri.
The Save Elephant Foundation shared an update on Facebook saying, “Please pray for her. It is too tiring for her to walk and work.”
Urging people to join their petition to end animal cruelty and to stop the use of wild animals for any ceremony, they added, “Look at this poor old girl who has fallen down and the whole world can see her.”
Channel News Asia reported that Sri Lanka Tourism and Wildlife minister John Amaratunga has ordered wildlife authorities to investigate how Tikiri was forced to take part in a lengthy parade despite her poor health. “I have been informed that the elephant collapsed yesterday,” the minister said in a statement quoted in the report.
“Considering what has transpired, I have ordered officials to initiate an inquiry and ascertain how and why an elephant in such poor health was used in the perehara (pageant) and to take necessary action against those responsible,” the statement added.
A Daily Mirror report said that the Sri Lankan High Commission in London said that the elephant was healthy and only appeared to have collapsed because she was struggling to stand up after waking from sleep.
Stressing that the government is concerned about animal welfare, a spokesperson from the high commission said that the elephant had been “sleeping the previous night and from the sleep she was unable to stand up.”
The new photo irked many online and criticised the condition of the animal.
Since the pictures went viral, animal rights campaigners have called upon tourists in Sri Lanka to boycott elephant attractions. They also slammed the authorities for forcing the aged animal to participate in the annual Esala Perehara (pageant) wearing elaborate clothing at the hugely popular night festival in the central city of Kandy.