Skeletal elephant dies in Sri Lanka weeks after parade outcry

A 70-year-old Sri Lankan elephant named Tikiri, whose emaciated state prompted an outcry in August after she was made to march in a Buddhist parade and collapsed, sparking an investigation by wildlife authorities, has died. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2019

Skeletal elephant dies in Sri Lanka weeks after parade outcry

  • Elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene said the jumbo had been ill-treated
  • The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the annual Temple of the Tooth pageant in Kandy last month

COLOMBO: An emaciated 70-year-old elephant that caused a social media outcry after being forced to take part in an annual Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka has died, officials said Wednesday.
The government has ordered an autopsy for Tikiri, a domesticated Asian elephant that died Tuesday night in Kegalle, 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of the capital Colombo, a wildlife department official said.
Elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene said the jumbo had been ill-treated.
“Tikiri was severely undernourished,” Jayewardene told AFP. “It is a wonder that she lived this long.”
The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the annual Temple of the Tooth pageant in Kandy last month after a social media firestorm erupted against parading the feeble animal.
Animal lovers lambasted authorities for forcing the aged beast to parade several kilometers wearing elaborate attire at the hugely popular night festival.
Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, wrote on social media that spectators did not realize how weak Tikiri was because of her costume.
After the public outcry, Wildlife Minister John Amaratunga ordered an investigation into why Tikiri was made to participate in the annual parade despite her failing health, but the outcome was not made known.
The Temple of the Tooth, Buddhism’s holiest shrine on the island, holds the annual festival with traditional drummers and dancers as well as nearly 100 elephants.
Many rich Sri Lankans keep elephants as pets, but there have been numerous complaints of ill-treatment and cruelty.
Guinness World Records says the average age of an Asian elephant is around 60 years, while the oldest on record was Lin Wang, a bull who carried supplies for the Japanese army in what was then Burma during World War II before dying in a Taiwan zoo in 2003 aged 86.


Sheep take over streets of Madrid for annual migration

Updated 20 October 2019

Sheep take over streets of Madrid for annual migration

  • The annual event, which started in 1994, allows shepherds to exercise their right to use traditional routes to migrate their livestock
  • The herd includes 2,000 merino sheep and 100 goats

MADRID: Sheep replaced traffic on the streets of Madrid on Sunday as shepherds steered their flocks through the heart of the Spanish capital, following ancient migration routes.
The annual event, which started in 1994, allows shepherds to exercise their right to use traditional routes to migrate their livestock from northern Spain to more southerly pastures for winter grazing.
The route would have taken them through undeveloped countryside a few centuries ago, but today it cuts through Madrid’s bustling city center and along some of its most famous streets.
Sheep farmers pay a nominal charge in symbolic acknowledgement of a 1418 agreement with the city council that set a fee of 50 maravedis — medieval coins — per 1,000 sheep brought through the central Sol square and Gran Via street.
The herd includes 2,000 merino sheep and 100 goats.