A 70-year-old elephant has been pictured looking shocking emaciated and underfed in Sri Lanka.
Every rib can be seen on Tikiiri, who will work beside 60 elephants for the Perahera Festival despite her frail body.
She will be forced to parade in a festival costume alongside her fellow elephants.
The ten-day Buddhist festival features the decorated animals along with a myriad of performers including dancers, jugglers, fire-breathers and musicians.
The harrowing pictures of Tikiiri were shared by Save Elephant Foundation to mark World Elephant Day on Monday.
The foundation said: “Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke.
“She walks many kilometres every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony.”
The costume covers how weak and bony her body is in her advanced age.
The foundation continued: “No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume,’ the foundation wrote.
“No one sees the tears in her eyes, injured by the bright lights that decorate her mask, no one sees her difficulty to step as her legs are short shackled while she walks.
“How can we call this [the festival] a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives to suffer?”
The organisation said Tikiiri works for the ‘Tooth temple in Kandy city’ and urged viewers to ‘write to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to end of this cruelty’.
“We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable,’ they added.
“To love, to do no harm, to follow a path of kindness and compassion, this is the Way of Buddha. It is time to follow.'”
Non-profit organisation Save Elephant Foundation focuses on providing care for Thailand’s captive elephant population.
It was founded by Sangdeaun Lek Chailert, who began advocating for elephant welfare in Asia due to her love for the country’s national symbol and worries about the species becoming endangered.
“It is our mission to save the Asian elephant from extinction and give domesticated elephants a life worth living by preserving habitat and increasing public awareness on humane treatment practices,” Save Elephant Foundation said.
The foundation runs Elephant Nature Park – a sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand – among a number of other projects.
World Animal Protection estimates 3,000 elephants are being used for entertainment throughout Asia, with 77 per cent being treated inhumanely.
A spokesperson for the Sacred Tooth Relic told Metro they ‘always care about the animals’ during their festivals.