Sri Lanka minister orders probe into cruelty towards ailing elephant

Published: Aug 17, 2019, 13:29 IST | Agencies

Tourism and wildlife minister John Amaratunga said he ordered wildlife authorities to investigate how the elephant known as Tikiri was forced to take part in a lengthy parade despite her poor health

Sri Lanka minister orders probe into cruelty towards ailing elephant
70-year-old emaciated elephant Tikiri eating at the Temple of the Tooth in the central city of Kandy, where she was brought to attend an annual Buddhist pageant. Pic /AFP

Colombo: Sri Lanka on Friday ordered an investigation after a skeletal 70-year-old elephant was paraded at a high-profile Buddhist pageant in a move criticised as cruelty to the ailing animal.

Tourism and wildlife minister John Amaratunga said he ordered wildlife authorities to investigate how the elephant known as Tikiri was forced to take part in a lengthy parade despite her poor health. Animal-lovers 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 earlier in the week. After a howl of protests over social media, festival organisers withdrew the aged animal from the grand finale on Wednesday. "I have been informed that the elephant collapsed yesterday," the minister said in a statement.

"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."

200
No. of elephants in captivity in Sri Lanka

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