Heartbreaking footage shows dead elephant who collapsed carrying tourists

 Heartbreaking footage shows an elephant which died from exhaustion after being forced to carry tourists on safari in Sri Lanka  Animal rights groups say the animal’s cruel demise demonstrates the cruel treatment elephants endure – and said it shows why holidaymakers must refuse to ride them  The animal, nicknamed Kanakota, was carrying a group of visitors in punishing heat when he could go no further   The tragedy comes after an investigation by campaign group Moving Animals found disturbing evidence of “safari” elephants being chained and threatened with spear-like bullhooks  Groups of tourists sit on “painful” seats which elephants carry on their backs    The 18-year-old elephant was pictured covered in a blanket surrounded by distressed locals in Sigiriya, central Sri Lanka  It is thought he had already carried three groups of tourists on the day he died, and had taken part in a parade the day before  Unable to take anymore, he laid down on October 18 and never woke up.  Campaigners say new laws need to be brought in to protect animals – with exploiters facing fines of just 50p for the suffering they cause  Paul Healey, from Moving Animals, said: “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 ”  “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  “We urge tourists to never 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 ”  An investigation has been launched into the cause of the animal’s death.

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