70-year-old emaciated elephant named Tikiri eating at the Temple of the Tooth in the central city of Kandy, where she was brought to march in an annual Buddhust pageant. - A 70-year-old Sri Lankan elephant named Tikiri
70-year-old emaciated elephant named Tikiri eating at the Temple of the Tooth in the central city of Kandy, where she was brought to march in an annual Buddhust pageant. - A 70-year-old Sri Lankan elephant named Tikiri
Photo by STR / AFP

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 The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the annual Temple of the Tooth pageant in Kandy last month after a social media firestorm erupted against parading the feeble animal.

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