Apparently, the reason for such torturous practices is believed to be Buddhist parades called peraheras in Sri Lanka which forces elephants to march night after night in the name of rituals.
In a heartbreaking incident, a young male elephant was seen crying in pain as a man continuously kept flogging its head. The disturbing footage which was recently posted to a Facebook Page called Rally for Animals Rights & Environment shows the elephant being straddled by a man, who appears to be his trainer, in a murky river. Initially, it seemed like the trainer, with the assistance of another man, is trying to give the animal a bath. However, things take an ugly turn when a large stick is handed to the trainer. Without any hesitation, the man cruelly starts whipping the elephant's head which makes the helpless animal keel over into the water and whimper in distress.
Speaking to Metro, an activist from Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (RARE), Maneesha Arachchige, claimed that the elephant named Vishwa belongs to Sasanawardena Pirivena in Mirigama, a Buddhist temple, situated south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. She explained how such torturous practices are common in Sri Lanka's captive elephant industry. Revealing the primary cause of their sufferings in that country, Arachchige said that Buddhist parades called peraheras were to blame.
These controversial parades include dressing up dozens of elephants in elaborate costumes and then force them to march for several miles every night. "Cruelty and torture are part of the captive elephant industry in Sri Lanka. If there were no peraheras then there will be no demand for captive elephants in Sri Lanka", explained Arachchige. "If we want to see an end to the tears cries and pain suffered by captive elephants then we have to implement bans on using captive elephants in peraheras." According to Metro, a monk who works at the temple had previously uploaded several videos and pictures of Vishwa on Facebook.
In one of these videos, Vishwa was tied to a tree for two weeks as a part of some Buddhist ritual, says the monk. Apparently, catching wild elephants is an illegal practice in Sri Lanka, however, its believed that one that ends up in Buddhist temples are actually stolen by poachers who do so by killing their mothers.
This tragic footage of Vishwa being ruthlessly treated by humans appeared shortly after an outcry for an elephant named Myan Prince. Several outraged activists took to social media and posted footage of the distressed 15-year-old male elephant who was at the Bellanwila Temple, just south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. The video that emerged earlier this month shows the poor animal lying helplessly on his side as its keeper continues to yell and whip him.