Colombo, Sep 25 (IANS): A 70-year-old elephant in Sri Lanka, whose emaciated state sparked a backlash earlier this year, has died, an animal rights charity said.
Tikiri was among 60 elephants who were forced to march at the Perahera festival in Kandy every year, reports the BBC.
Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation (SEF), posted late on Tuesday that Tikiri had passed away.
“Tikiri’s suffering has ended, her soul is now free. No more harm can come to her,” said Ms Chailert in an Instagram post.
“RIP dear Tikiri. Never look back to this world so cruel toward you and your friends.”
In August, the SEFhas posted photos of the tusker showing her performing at the festival with her frail body covered by a colourful costume.
However, a spokesman from the Buddhist Sacred Tooth Relic temple that organises the festival had told Sri Lankan news site Metro that Tikiri suffered from a “digestive ailment” that prevented her from putting on weight.
The spokesman said this ailment had not “affected her strength and abilities”.
Animal rights group PETA had earlier told the BBC that many elephants in Sri Lanka were suffering “similar or worse treatment in service to an exploitative and abusive tourism industry”.
The animal rights group called for stronger enforcement of animal-protection laws and for tourists to avoid places that offered elephant rides or performances.