Elephant injures 18 after going on rampage during religious festival in Sri Lanka

A religious festival in Sri Lanka turned into a frightening rampage Saturday as an elephant charged through a crowded street.

At least 18 people were injured in the incident, which took place during a Buddhist procession near Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the nation's administrative capital.

Footage of the rampage shows the elephant draped in lights, sacred relics and other decorations as a man rides its back. The lively parade quickly transforms into chaos as the animal charges forward, shaking the rider off and rampaging into a number of bystanders.

The rider is seen escaping just before getting trampled, however many in the crowd were plowed over or knocked into one another. There were multiple children among those injured, according to the Independent.

Sixteen of the 18 people hospitalized in the parade have been released, while one is being observed for abdominal damage and another is being treated for an ear injury.

This is at least the second elephant-related incident to emerge from Sri Lanka in as many months. In August, the nation faced backlash over photos of a severely malnourished elephant that was forced to participate in annual ceremonies. 

Tikiiri, the elderly elephant, went viral after the Save Elephant Foundation shared the images on Facebook

"To have this beautiful creature treated and used in such a despicable way shows that humans really do think they are the superior race," one Facebook user commented on the post.

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