Minister of Wildlife Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka has raised concerns over the use of elephants at temple pageants (perahera).
Fonseka says new ways must be looked at on using elephants for temple pageants without hurting them.
“We see elephants moving from side to side at peraheras and are really happy to see that. We assume they are dancing as the dancers in the perahera are also dancing,” he said.
However Fonseka says after visiting the elephant orphanage and other locations where elephants are kept and after speaking to experts, he found that the elephants move from side to side at peraheras as they are in pain.
Fonseka said that while there is a need to protect Sri Lankan culture there is also a need to protect the animal.
The Minister said that the shortage of elephants for temple pageants must be addressed but it should not be done so to meet the personal agendas of some individuals.