A Russian influencer model is getting heat for posing naked on top of an endangered elephant for an Instagram video.
According to The Sun, Russian influencer model Alesya Kafelnikova, 22, posted the short video to Instagram on February 13, showcasing herself in the nude and posed atop a Sumatran elephant.
“Poor elephant. Aren’t you ashamed to lie naked on an elephant? This is a living creature. Money overshadows everything,” one Instagram follower said.
Another called the photoshoot a “violation” against the animal.
In the video Kafelnikova poses on the critically endangered animal while it wags its tail and shakes its ears.
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A charity group told The Sun that the Russian influencer model’s use of the elephant in her photo shoot was a “tragic trivialization.”
“Yet another tragic trivialization of the majestic Asian elephant when the species is fighting for its very existence against brutal abuse in tourism and human ‘entertainment,’” the charity Save the Asian Elephants told The Sun.
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“Save The Asian Elephants stands for a ban by law on the advertising and sale of unethical venues where these special creatures are commercialized with beating, stabbing and every kind of torture to break them for easy commercial exploitation – genuine sanctuaries only.”
According to The Daily Star, the species of elephant the model posed on is not native to Bali, where she currently lives. A number of elephants in Asia are kept captive to serve the region’s tourism industry.
Elephant riding is condemned by many animal charities including PETA.
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In fact, the Sumatran elephant — the species of elephant used in the Russian influencer model’s video — was designated a “critically endangered” species by the WWF last year.
According to a 2017 report from National Geographic, Sumatran elephants and other endangered species in the region’s rain forest have seen swaths of their livable habitat destroyed by the palm oil industry.
“While the exact population of Sumatran elephants is unknown, they likely number only between 700 and 1,000, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, an environmental network of government and civil society organizations that sets the conservation status of species,” National Geographic wrote in 2017.
The magazine reported the population of the species is estimated to have shrunk by 70% over the past decade due to habitat loss.
It’s estimated that elephant numbers fell by more than 70 percent during the past decade, largely from habitat loss that has squeezed them into smaller areas and cut off their traditional migration routes.
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Russian influencer model Kafelnikova has been in the headlines before for controversy prior to the elephant photo shoot.
She is quoted in a January 2020 Daily Mail article about fellow model Ksenia Puntus, 21, who reportedly suffered severe injuries after falling out a third-floor window at a building in Moscow where her boyfriend lived.
Kafelnikova alleged foul play in the fall that left Puntus with numerous severe injuries.
Police in Moscow had said previously they opened a probe into the model’s fall.
The model suffered head and chest injuries as well as broken ribs, legs and pelvis shortly before she was due to leave for Paris on an assignment.
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