Updated: September 11, 2019 9:17:41 am
At least 18 people were injured after an elephant taking part in a Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka charged at performers and onlookers.
Video on Derana Television of Saturday night’s pageant in Kotte, near Colombo, showed an elephant in a procession suddenly running forward.
Terrified people scattered, with some running into an elephant at the front of the procession. That elephant became violent and ran, pushing onlookers. A man riding on the elephant fell off and narrowly escaped being trampled.
Officials from two hospitals said Monday that 18 injured people received treatment and 16 had been discharged. Of the remaining two, one is being observed for possible abdominal damage and the other is being treated for an injured ear, they said.
Ornately decorated elephants are a major attraction in Sri Lankan Buddhist pageants. Wealthy families own captive elephants as a symbol of their prosperity, pride and nobility and send their elephants to participate in pageants around the country.
However, there have been questions raised over the use of elephants at such functions. Recently pictures of an elderly skeletal elephant triggered social media outrage after they went viral, leading to the withdrawal of the animal from a high-profile annual Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka. The 70-year-old ailing elephant called Tikiri was covered in a colourful costume so as to hide her malnourished body from the people watching her in the parade.
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