Starving old elephant spared from Sri Lankan parade after outcry


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Tikiri, a 70-year-old female Asian elephant, is shown in Sri Lanka. Lek Chailert/Save Elephant Foundation

The 70-year-old owner of an Asian elephant pulled him out of a Buddhist parade in Sri Lanka after photos of the emaciated animal sparked outrage and anger online.

The elephant, named Tikiri, was to march through the Esala Perahera, a series of ten-day parades in the city of Kandy. The festival is organized by the Temple of the Tooth, one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the country.

Tikiri was removed from the parade on Tuesday after a Facebook post by Lek Chailert, Thailand’s so-called “elephant whisperer,” went viral.

The message showed an image of Tikiri adorned with adornments covering her entire body for the parade, alongside other photos that revealed her emaciated body. Tikiri’s ribs, hip bones and spine are clearly visible in the latest photos, which were published on Chailert’s advocacy page, called the Save Elephant Foundation.

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