In Colombo, Sri Lanka, a 6 year old elephant, Ganga, is chained in front of a temple. This is the reality of her lonely life. She displays *stereotypic behaviour. The chains are tight on one front leg and one at the back. When she lays down he has to lay down in her own urine and faeces. It is thought Ganga may be a wild caught elephant.
- Galaboda Gnanissara Thero
Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thero,Gangaramaya,61, Sri Jinarathana Road,Colombo 2,Sri Lanka.
I write to you today to request your immediate and urgent attention to alleviate the appalling andharmful conditions being experienced by the baby elephant confined on your premises. I respectfullyrequest, Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thero, that you immediately tend to this elephant's wellbeing with the same care and compassion as you would a child in need. Please for compassion‟s sake, order that her living area is made clean and kept that way, that she be given enough space and a stockade largeenough to move about freely and that she is unchained. If chains must be used that it should be onlyone leg, and that it should be loose enough to fall to her ankle and not bite into her skin. She must haveadequate space, freedom of movement, adequate nutrition, copious amounts of water and the constantcompany of a kind human keeper for her needs to be met. I ask also that her cuts and abrasions be medically treated so as to recover from infection.It is profoundly disturbing to witness that the calf is living in wholly inadequate and deprived conditions.Not even the most basic requirements for husbandry are being met.
You have the power to change this.The attached pictures are clear evidence of extreme cruelty and confirm that the baby is in severeemotional distress. She displays stereotypical signs of stress, boredom, and frustration. A video of the elephant that I have seen shows that she is constantly rocking and swaying. She is repeatedly pulling against her chains. She displays what is known as "cow eye" (or the huge wide open eye) and is seen biting her trunk.
All behaviours documented as sterotypic behaviour and only seen in elephants who are experiencing mental and emotional neurosis caused by inadequate care.She is living in an inadequately sized enclosure that is unkempt and unhygienic. The baby is chained in atorturous and inhumane manner, causing wounds. The chains are restricting her most basic need to move around freely ― an essential requirement for the well-being of an elephant.
With great respect to Buddhism, which teaches to treat all beings with love and kindness and to yourrich and highly regarded national culture, I wish to inform you that there is an increasing globalawareness regarding the dreadful cruelty meted out to these voiceless and helpless elephants who have
become the victims of human supremacy and are being used as commodities in the name of BuddhistTradition.
While in Asian culture elephants symbolize wisdom, sacredness and bravery and play a very importantrole taking part in numerous auspicious activities for thousands of years; the desperate plight of captiveelephants living in deplorable conditions in Sri Lanka has been brought to light by world renownedelephant scientists who have been studying their behavioural needs for decades; declaring that usingthese highly intelligent and emotional animals for human purposes is an act no longer acceptable bycivilized human society.As an influential leader among the Buddhist clergy in Sri Lanka, you have the power to change thisdeplorable practice through power of example as evidenced by your proper care of this elephant andthrough influencing animal welfare legislation, monitoring and enforcement. We look forward to yourguidance to ensure that Sri lanka moves forward with the changing ways of thinking of the 21st centuryand provides adequate care for elephants in captivity. It is the right and humane and holy thing to do.
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