If you have heard of Sri Lanka, you have likely heard of the Kandy Perahera, an event that draws in thousands from around the world each year to witness it’s grandeur and remarkable elegance. It is an event of significant historical and cultural significance that should bring Sri Lanka pride and yet, due to it’s use and abuse of wild elephants, it is an event that brings great shame of the island nation of Sri Lanka.


For years, activists have been campaigning to remove wild elephants from the Kandy Perahera due to the fact that Elephants are brought in from the Jungles of Sri Lanka and beaten, stabbed with bull hooks and tortured in order to break their spirits so they will be “tame” enough to walk in procession at the perahera. However, anyone that knows anything about wild animals knows that they cannot really be tamed. There is no such thing. Their spirits might be broken temporarily in order to keep them quiet for a short time but this is never predictable.


Elephants run amok at the Kandy Perahera endangering the lives of thousands


Last nights events at the Kumbal Perahera proved this when several elephants ran amok causing havoc and putting thousands upon thousands of human lives at risk in the process.


The Kandy perahera is an event flooded with loud noise, a lot of fire, and bright lights - while this might be entertaining to humans, it can be hugely overwhelming to wild elephants and it is no surprise that time and time again, elephants have run amok.


How many more times must this happen for the Sri Lankan government to finally open their eyes and realise that this archaic practice of using elephants, all dressed up in heavy robes and lights at a cultural event (an entertainment event for some) is not the right way forward in a world that is slowly but surely moving towards more compassionate practices?


How many more tourists must boycott Sri Lanka and the perahera in order for the government to open their eyes and see that this practice is in fact hurting the economy that is already crumbling? An economy that is already so very dependent of tourism?


Sri lanka uses this event to attract tourists from all over the world and during the period of the festival, hotel prices, and ticket prices of everything related to tourism shoot up drastically and this, is the core reason as to why the government of Sri Lanka refuses to look in to or address the issue that has had activists campaigning for years. Money. 


And yet, the truth of the matter is that elephants play a small role within the actual perahera itself. The perahera consists of human fire dances, traditional drummers, traditional dances and so much more  - removing elephants will not take away from the graduer that is the Kandy perahera.


We can still preserve the beauty of the event without the elephants and the event will earn the money it usually earns - in fact, by removing elephants, the event will also attract ethical tourists who are currently boycotting Sri Lanka and the perahera, thus creating a positive ripple effect for tourism.


When will the government of Sri Lanka finally open their eyes and make a change to a toxic archaic tradition and create a new one that will amplify the true values of compassion and Kindness of our Buddhist nation?


Over to you Mr. President.