sick elephant sri lanka
© Save Elephant Foundation / Lek Chailert
The emaciated 70-year-old is forced to work for ten consecutive nights
Harrowing photos have emerged of an incredibly thin 70-year-old elephant who works in a parade in Sri Lanka.

Tikiiri is one of 60 elephants who joins the Perahera Festival, working every night for ten days wearing a costume, including a mask with bright lights.

The pictures reveal Tikiiri's gaunt body once her sparkly full-body robe has been removed, with her emaciated ribs on show.

Save Elephant Foundation shared the tragic pictures on Monday to mark World Elephant Day.

The charity helps to rescue and care for captive elephants across Asia and runs Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai.

Founder Lek Chailert said: "This is Tikiiri, a 70-year-old ailing female. She is one of the 60 elephants who must work in the service of the Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka this year.

"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 kilometers every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony. No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume.

Sick elephant sri lanka 2
© Save Elephant Foundation / Lek Chailert
Her costume for the Perahera Festival covers her bony ribs
"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.

"For a ceremony, all have the right to belief as long as that belief does not disturb or harm another. How can we call this a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives to suffer?

"Today is World Elephant Day. We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable.

"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."