"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
In a heart-wrenching incident, an 18-year-old elephant in Sri Lanka's Sigiriya died of exhaustion after giving three consecutive rides to tourists. A day before its death, the elephant was also made to walk in a parade.
For the past four years, the male Asian elephant had reportedly carried visitors on $30 tours. Following the incident, animal welfare activists have been urging authorities to take action and bring about policy changes.
"This young elephant's tragic and cruel death was entirely preventable. Until tourists refuse to ride elephants, more of these gentle giants will continue to suffer and collapse from exhaustion," Paul Healy of animal rights group Moving Animals told Daily Mirror.
"Sri Lankan activists and animal lovers have been campaigning tirelessly to enact this animal welfare bill that will finally change the laws and offer animals the protection they so desperately need," he added.
"We urge tourists never to ride an elephant, and call on the Sri Lankan government to instate a new Animal Welfare Bill that will finally offer protection to the country's amazing array of animals and wildlife," Healy said.
However, an investigation has been launched to determine the exact cause of death.
Several animal lovers took to Twitter to condemn the incident.
Reportedly, Kanakota as been carrying tourists in extreme heat with a "painful" seat on his back. A petition called "Justice for Kanakota. The Elephant That Was Worked to Death" has received over 1,000 signatures.
For over a century, Sri Lanka's animal welfare laws have not been updated. Those found guilty of cruelty towards animals are fined an amount of about a mere Rs 100. For over three years now, government officials are being urged by activists to update policies with the passage of the Animal Welfare Bill.
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