Myanmar appealed to Sri Lanka to stop the abuse of the elephant it donated to a Buddhist temple six years ago, the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday.
The Myanmar Embassy in Colombo also asked the Sri Lanka authorities to punish those who persecuted the elephant as seen in videos in uploaded in the social media, the statement added.
The elephant, which was named Myan Kumara, was donated by the Myanmar government to Bellanwila Temple near Colombo city in 2013.
A few days ago, the news and videos of Myan Kumara being abused by the elephant keeper appeared on the social media both Sri Lanka and Myanmar, triggering public condemnation.
Myanmar’s ambassador to Sri Lanka was scheduled to visit the elephant on Thursday.
One of the monks who are taking responsibility of Temple affairs expressed his sorrow over the incident, according to the Foreign Ministry statement.
It said Myan Kumara has been trained by elephant keepers and used in religious festivals.
In February 2018, a 77-year-old Buddhist monk died a day after he was attacked by Myan Kumara at the temple, police said.
Police investigators said the monk was pushed to the ground by the elephant but the mahout prevented him from being gored.
Elephants are considered sacred animals protected by law in Sri Lanka. Several Buddhist temples have pet elephants, which are paraded at annual pageants.
The number of elephant in Sri Lanka has shrunk to over 7000 from an estimated 12,000 in 1900, conservationist said.(Myanmar Times)