Influencer Defends Posing Naked On Endangered Elephant For Instagram Photos
A Russian influencer has defended posing naked on top of an endangered elephant for Instagram photos.
Alesya Kafelnikova, the daughter of former world number one and Grand Slam-winning tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov, became the subject of criticism recently after footage emerged of her on a Sumatran elephant in Bali, Indonesia.
The 22-year-old shared the video with her 546,000 followers on the platform, quickly sparking outrage at her ‘insensitive’ action of using a critically-endangered animal for her own gain. She’d captioned it, ‘Natural vibes.’ In a separate post, she wrote, ‘To love nature is human nature.’
Among the criticism, one animal charity called it a ‘tragic trivialisation’, with others describing it as a ‘violation’ against the elephant and one writing, ‘Money overshadows everything.’
In response, Kafelnikova posted further photos with the elephant, with one showing her helping to clean its feet. She wrote, ‘If someone does not know I have been doing charity work for many years and one of my last donations was financial support to animals and to local people in the village, in which I took these photos.’
She continued, ‘It is a pity that people see this as vulgarity, and not as a beauty and love for nature. I love animals, I love elephants! And I love Bali so so much! I hope each of you will awaken an aesthetic love for my post and the beauty.’
Kafelnikova wrote, ‘It was a private photoshoot, I didn’t have a purpose to hurt the feelings of local people at all. We love balinese culture and respect Indonesian rules. Please sorry if you see something else in this.’
She added, ‘My intention with these pictures was to show you that I love and respect animals and especially elephants more than anything. I would wish that all those who are so negative will awaken an aesthetic love for my post and you will see the wonderful beauty in it!’
Commenting on the post, a spokesperson from Save the Asian Elephants told The Sun, ‘Yet another tragic trivialisation of the majestic Asian elephant when the species is fighting for its very existence against brutal abuse in tourism and human entertainment.’
They added, ‘Save The Asian Elephants stands for a ban by law on the advertising and sale of unethical venues where these special creatures are commercialised with beating, stabbing and every kind of torture to break them for easy commercial exploitation – genuine sanctuaries only.’
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CreditsAlesya Kafelnikova/Instagram and 1 other