Tourist guide fined for bullying elephant in Sri Lanka

Grey adult elephant with two baby elephants in water, animal news
Asian elephants bathing in river, photo: sal73it via Canva

A tourist guide who bullied a wild elephant and posted the video on TikTok has been fined for animal cruelty, Sri Lankan officials said Friday.

In the 20-second clip, the man drives a blue vehicle close to the animal, shining bright lights in his eyes. Even as the elephant steps back, trying to hide behind a tree, the car keeps chasing him. The incident happened in the north-central city of Habarana.

Social media were outraged over the man’s actions. After wildlife authorities were able to identify him through social media, he was fined 200,000 rupees ($1,000), which is about 20 times the monthly minimum wage in Sri Lanka.

There have been more reports in Sri Lanka of tour guides driving close to wild animals in national parks and using firecrackers to scare them off when the animals turn aggressive.

Last year, Sri Lanka introduced new regulations to protect elephants, but animal welfare organizations said it contained loopholes, including one for people who had kidnapped baby elephants between 2010 and 2015.

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