Saturday, Jul 04, 2020 | Last Update : 01:51 AM IST

101st Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra1929901046878376 Tamil Nadu102721583781385 Delhi92175630072864 Gujarat34686249411905 Uttar Pradesh2579717597749 West Bengal2048813571717 Karnataka197108807293 Rajasthan1878515043435 Telangana185709069275 Andhra Pradesh169347632206 Haryana1550911019251 Madhya Pradesh1410610815589 Bihar10911821184 Assam8956583212 Jammu and Kashmir76954856105 Odisha7316535333 Punjab56683989149 Kerala4594243626 Uttarakhand2791190937 Chhatisgarh2339193713 Jharkhand2339160512 Tripura140110931 Manipur13166390 Goa11984783 Himachal Pradesh9796179 Puducherry73930112 Nagaland5351820 Chandigarh4463676 Arunachal Pradesh182601 Mizoram1601230 Sikkim101520 Meghalaya50421
  World   South Asia  27 Sep 2019  Here's why Sri Lanka's tallest celebrity elephant has his own armed guards

Here's why Sri Lanka's tallest celebrity elephant has his own armed guards

AFP
Published : Sep 27, 2019, 12:52 pm IST
Updated : Sep 27, 2019, 12:52 pm IST

Nadungamuwa Raja, 65 years old, is a celebrated elephant towering around 10.5 feet in height, the tallest tamed tusker in Lanka.

Raja’s owner said the government has allocated troops to provide security for his pet as it ambles along main roads to attend temple festivals across the island. (Photo: Facebook)
 Raja’s owner said the government has allocated troops to provide security for his pet as it ambles along main roads to attend temple festivals across the island. (Photo: Facebook)

Sri Lanka: Nadungamuwa Raja, 65 years old, is a celebrated elephant towering around 10.5 feet (3.2 metres) in height, the tallest tamed tusker in Sri Lanka. And he has his own armed guards.

Raja’s owner said the government has allocated troops to provide security for his pet as it ambles along main roads to attend temple festivals across the island.

 

“In September 2015, a motorcyclist very nearly crashed into Raja. After seeing CCTV footage, the government contacted me and offered protection for Raja when he gets on the road,” Harsha Dharmavijaya told AFP.

There are two regular handlers with Raja in addition to the military unit deployed to clear a path for the animal when it navigates crowded country roads.

Raja is an unofficial national treasure because he is one of the few tuskers chosen to carry a casket of Buddha relics in an annual pageant at the most sacred Buddhist shrine on the island, the Temple of the Tooth.

Raja walks 90 kilometres (55 miles) to the hill resort of Kandy for the event, called the Esala pageant. He walks 25 to 30 kilometres a day, travelling mostly at night when it is cooler.

The pageant in August involves nearly 100 elephants and many more traditional dancers, fire-eaters and drummers, and is a key tourist attraction.

However animal rights campaigners say captive elephants are often maltreated.

On Tuesday an emaciated 70-year-old elephant called Tikiri died, weeks after attending the Esala festival.

The animal was withdrawn from the finale of the Temple of the Tooth pageant last month after a social media firestorm erupted against parading the feeble animal.

Many rich Sri Lankans keep elephants as pets, but there have been numerous complaints of ill-treatment and cruelty.

Tags: sri lanka, elephant, nadungamuwa raja, esala festival