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  • The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the annual Temple of the Tooth pageant in Kandy last month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The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the annual Temple of the Tooth pageant in Kandy last month after a social media firestorm erupted against parading the feeble animal.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.


Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

Updated 31 March 2020

Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

  • With humans sheltering indoors to escape the new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno
  • Now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town

LONDON: Un-baaaaa-lievable: This wild bunch is completely ignoring rules on social distancing.
With humans sheltering indoors to escape the new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno, a town in North Wales.
Andrew Stuart, a video producer for the Manchester Evening News, has been posting videos of the furry adventurers on his Twitter feed and they are racking up hundreds of thousands of views.
He said the goats normally keep largely to themselves, in a country park that butts up against Llandudno. But now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town. The UK has been in lockdown for the past week to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“There’s no one around at the moment, because of the lockdown, so they take their chances and go as far as they can. And they are going further and further into the town,” Stuart told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday from his parents’ pub in Llandudno, where he is waiting out the pandemic.
His videos show the goats munching on people’s neatly trimmed hedges and trees in front yards and loitering casually on empty streets as if they own the place.
“One of the videos on my Twitter shows that they were on a narrow side street and I was on the other side and they were scared of me. They were edging away from me. So they are still scared of people,” Stuart said. “But when there’s hardly anyone around on the big streets, they are taking their chances, they are absolutely going for it. And I think because it’s so quiet, and there’s hardly anyone around to scare them or anything, that they just don’t really care and are eating whatever they can.”
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.