Tikiri The Elephant Dies After Photos Of Her Skeletal Body Shocked The World
A 70-year-old elephant, Tikiri, has died just weeks after photos of her emaciated body highlighted her mistreatment and shocked the world.
The starved animal made headlines last month when Save Elephant Foundation (SEF) shared images of her performing at the Esala Perahera festival in Sri Lanka, with her body hidden underneath a colourful costume.
SEF revealed her skeletal frame and pointed out how her owners had deceived onlookers as Tikiri was forced to march for miles, despite her fragile state.
The 70-year-old animal was also photographed after she collapsed to the ground from exhaustion, BBC News reports.
The eye-opening images were met with outrage by the public and Tikiri was reportedly sent back to her keeper in Rambukkana, a village close to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.
Earlier this month, the SEF said Tikiri was ‘taken away and remains isolated’, adding that although she was given medical attention her condition and care largely ‘remained the same’.
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Someone recently compared Tikiri and Yai Boon (an elephant whom we rescued 2 months ago) as being in the same condition. That of course would be correct. If one were to compare them at a certain point, they both look rather skeletal, almost twins. There is a more compelling story to tell about an elephant's needs and the human heart. Yai Boon, when her owner saw that she could no longer work, he asked us to help rescue her. Tikiri clearly also could no longer work, but the owner had no regard for her welfare. Yai Boon was brought to a safe and restorative place, where she was put on a medical program to improve her burdened condition, her legs never to be chained again. Tikiri did receive some medical attention, largely due to the high profile given to her collapse at the festival. But her care largely remained the same. After rescue, Yai Boon remains in the public eye, open for all to see her remarkable recovery in only a short while. Tikiri was taken away from her unwanted exposure, and remains isolated. Yai Boon has gained 200 + kilograms in her 2 months stay with us, building strength in both mind and body. Soon Yai Boon will be introduced to some of our herd when her recovery time is sufficient, and she develops a clear interest in that exploration. For Tikiri, sadly her future remains somewhat bleak. One mandate of the animal advocate is that when you see an animal being abused, the truth must be spoken and intervention attempted. If the story is plain, it should not be twisted. Of what benefit to defend the one who causes distinct harm and try to exonerate them from any wrongdoing? The animal will remain abandoned in her suffering. To speak the truth, we may lose friends, but our voice stands fast to protect our beloved animals, achievements that we can be proud of, and our own dignity intact. **Petition in bio for Tikiiri** #SaveElephantFoundation #ElephantNature #SaveTikiiri #SriLanka #SaveElephants #BeKindToElephants
Late on Tuesday (September 24), Lek Chailert, founder of SEF, announced Tikiri had died.
She shared a picture of the skinny elephant on Instagram, explaining how the animal’s death has further spurred her to help other suffering animals:
The sad news is just out tonight that Tikiri passed away this evening. There is both sorrow and relief here. To think of her brings such pain to my heart.
That hard service was her life, and not freedom, carries for me a commitment to others who yet suffer. That we could not help her before her eyes would shut forever fosters a renewed courage, and bears a responsibility for us to find safe refuges for all of the captive Giants born under the yoke of Man.
What we wished for Tikiri, even a few days of freedom with love and care, we will demand for others.
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The sad news is just out tonight that Tikiri passed away this evening. There is both sorrow and relief here. To think of her brings such pain to my heart. That hard service was her life, and not freedom, carries for me a commitment to others who yet suffer. That we could not help her before her eyes would shut forever fosters a renewed courage, and bears a responsibility for us to find safe refuges for all of the captive Giants born under the yoke of Man. What we wished for Tikiri, even a few days of freedom with love and care, we will demand for others. The day that I met Tikiri, her eyes locked with mine, telling me all that I needed to know. Her own fear and anger and sorrow is now part of that longer memory of her kind which should bear us no affection. Tikiri's suffering has ended, her soul is now free. No more harm can come to her. RIP dear Tikiri. Never look back to this world so cruel toward you and your friends. หลังจากที่ล้มครั้งแล้วครั้งเล่า มาตอนเย็นนี้ทิคคิรีก็ได้จากโลกนี้ไปอย่างทุกข์ทรมาน เธอไม่มีโอกาสที่จะได้เห็นอิสรภาพก่อนเธอตาย เธอไม่เคยได้สัมผัสความรักจากมนุษย์ก่อนที่ดวงตาคู่นั้นของเธอจะปิดสนิท วันที่ดิฉันได้พบกับทิคคิรีที่ศรีลังกา และตัดสินใจนำเรื่องของเธอสู่สายตาชาวโลก ดวงตาคู่นั้นของเธอมันบอกทุกอย่างในความรู้สึกที่เธอมี ดิฉันรู้สึกสัมผัสถึงความกลัว โกรธ ความเจ็บปวด และความหมดหวังของเธอ หลับให้สบายนะทิคคิรีวันนี้เป็นอิสระแล้ว ไม่ต้องเป็นทาสใครอีกต่อไป มองไปข้างหน้าอย่าหันหลังกลับมามอง โลกนี้ที่มีแต่การทารุนกรรม เกิดมาอีกทีอย่าเกิดมาเป็นช้างให้คนทารุนกรรมอีก #saveelephantfoundation #bekindtoanimals #bekindtoelephants #elephant
The post continues:
The day that I met Tikiri, her eyes locked with mine, telling me all that I needed to know. Her own fear and anger and sorrow is now part of that longer memory of her kind which should bear us no affection.
Tikiri’s suffering has ended, her soul is now free. No more harm can come to her.
RIP dear Tikiri. Never look back to this world so cruel toward you and your friends.
After images showing Tikiri’s suffering were shared online in August, a spokesman from the Buddhist temple which organises the festival reportedly told Metro the animal suffered from a ‘digestive ailment’ which prevented her from putting on weight.
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Tikiri Update: This is the latest picture of Tikiri after she was returned back to her owner. I would like to thank all media and people around the world who helped to focus attention on her, and to bring her voice onto the stage, raising awareness about her life and condition, and that of all other captive elephants who follow after her aged steps. How is Tikiri now ? Is she truly cared for well ? She is sick. She is old. She is weak. Why is she still tied both legs front and back ? Surely she deserves better. Is it fear of her from a lifetime of abuse ? Is there no emotional reciprocity, having spent a lifetime with her ? The bond between mahout and elephant is vigorously defended. The bond is clear. I see the bonds. If you love animals, truly, open your eyes, your mind, your heart, to their suffering. Do not let self importance blind you from the truth ! I posted Tikiri's story because I want her voice to be known, and too many others who suffer with her. I have visited Perahera many times to record, research, and witness the fact that it is not getting better. I have enough information to speak clearly. It is time to speak plainly, to end the cruelty. Pictures speak more loudly than my voice to those with open hearts. The world will know the truth one day. May we not rue that day, but stand in welcome memory that we stood in the Gap for them – that the elephant survived our current holocaust on the planet because of even a vigilant few with no compromise. Tikiri is not the only one that needs our help. There are still so many elephants whose voice is silenced by oppression. They need our voice. I ask all friends, the true advocates for animals, do not give up your voice for them. Do not let the group of 'animal people' who work for their own benefit, ruin your will. Carry on your work for the animal. One moment of time is about being Present, living consciously and with compassion, until we see their true protection and their lives restored to safety and freedom. #tikiri #bekindtoanimals #bekindtoelephants #elephant #elephantnaturepark
They also claimed the ‘ailment’ had not ‘affected her strength and abilities’, however activists argued Tikiri was not given the appropriate food for an elephant of her age.
Tikiri was one of around 60 elephants forced to march for 10 days each year in the parade, amid noise, fireworks and smoke.
Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare charity PETA, spoke to CNN about how tourists can help stop elephants suffering, explaining:
Tourists visiting Sri Lanka can help elephants by refusing to ride them and by avoiding any attraction that offers or endorses elephant rides, keeps the animals chained, or forces them to perform.
The animal rights group has also called for stronger enforcement of animal protection laws.
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