Incident sparked outrage online.
A gym owner has sparked outrage after she was pictured doing pull-ups on an elephant’s tusks during a visit to a South African elephant sanctuary.
Emma Roberts was visiting the Adventures with Elephants park in Mabula District when she decided to take the controversial picture.
Immediately after the South African native posted the image on her Instagram page, many users shared their disappointment in the treatment of the animal.
“Absolutely abhorrent. People don’t understand the horror that wild animals go through to “perform.” Elephant spines are not meant for holding humans’ weight,” one user wrote.
“Can’t believe she did that. She doesn’t have common sense and empathy. The elephant deserves to be treated with respect. Be kind to them,” another said.
As the backlash continued, Roberts, who owns her own CrossFit gym, decided to delete the image from her Instagram page.
Roberts then defended her actions in another post saying: “I do not agree that sharing an amazing moment with this animal is cruel in any way. However, there are many humans out there who only see the negative.
“Beating elephants is cruel, riding them is not ideal, keeping them in horrible environments and killing them for their ivory is cruel. Providing them with a home in their natural environment and educating people about how intelligent and wonderful they are is not cruelty.
“Unfortunately only a small percentage of the world is enlightened enough to see this. Those of you who have sent me wonderful messages, thank you.
“Those of you who have made this amazing experience for me feel like something I should be ashamed of… Shame on you.”