Kerala temple introduces a robot ritual elephant.

BBC reports on a mechanical elephant that is replacing a flesh-and-blood elephant that previously conducted rituals in a temple in Kerala, India:

The initiative by authorities at Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple in Thrissur district is part of their pledge to stop using live animals for any festivities.

Chained, saddled and decorated, elephants play an important part in temple festivals in Kerala – the state is home to about a fifth of the country’s roughly 2,500 captive elephants.

According to the Indian Express newspaper, the elephant model donated by PETA is 11 ft (3.3m) tall, weighs 800 kg (1763.7 lbs) and is made of an iron frame.

Temple priest Rajkumar Namboothiri told the Indian Express newspaper that authorities were happy to receive the mechanical elephant.

“We hope other temples will also think about replacing elephants with robotic elephants for their rituals,” Mr Namboothiri said.

[via Dr. Holly Waters on Mastodon]