Elephant foundation claims emaciated animal's body is concealed by festival outfit

According to the social media post, Tikiiri's body is concealed by a festival outfit.
According to the social media post, Tikiiri's body is concealed by a festival outfit. Photo credit: Facebook/Save Elephant Foundation

"Despicable" images of an emaciated elephant in Sri Lanka have emerged, with a foundation claiming officials cover its body so people can't see how unhealthy it is.

According to Facebook account 'Save Elephant Foundation', 70-year-old Tikiiri is one of 60 elephants who "must" work at this year's Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka.

It's unclear when the photos of the emancipated elephant were taken, but the foundation shared one photo showing the elephant grossly underfed, and another of an elephant wearing a festival costume.

The account called it "unacceptable".

"We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable.

"No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume."

The foundation says she is made to walk "many kilometres" every night.

"No one sees the tears in her eyes, injured by the bright lights that decorate her mask."

According to UK publication Metro, the temple which hosts the festival has said they "always care about the animals".

Metro says it contacted a spokesperson for the temple, who said the elephant had been looked at by a doctor.

Many Facebook users commented on the foundation's post with hundreds expressing their disgust.

"To have this beautiful creature treated and used in such a despicable way shows that humans really do think they are the superior race," one said.

"It is truly heartbreaking to see that these elephants have such a horrible life," another wrote.

According to TripAdvisor, the festival is a "colourful, lively and loud" Buddhist pageant, which is "steeped" in tradition and history.

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