A Russian Instagram influencer has received backlash for posing nude on top of an endangered elephant while shooting a video to be posted on her Instagram page of 536,000 followers.
Alesya Kafelnikova, 22, posted the short video to Instagram on February 13, showing herself nude on top a Sumatran elephant, according to The Sun.
“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 short Instagram video, the critically endangered animal is seen wagging its tail and shaking its ears as Kafelnikova lay nude on its back.
A charity group told The Sun that the Russian 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.
“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 Sumatran elephant is not native to Bali, where she currently lives. Some elephants in Asia are kept captive to serve the region’s tourism industry.
In 2012, the Sumatran elephant was designated a “critically endangered” species by the WWF.
Sumatran elephants feed on a variety of plants and deposit seeds wherever they go, contributing to a healthy forest ecosystem,WWF stated on their website. They also share their lush forest habitat with several other endangered species, such as the Sumatran rhino, tiger, and orangutan, and countless other species that all benefit from an elephant population that thrives in a healthy habitat.
A 2017 report from National Geographic revealed that 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.
Kafelnikova, the daughter of the former tennis champion and world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov, has been on news 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.
Puntus was left with several injuries due to Kafelnikova’s alleged foul play, according to the report.
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— Mazech (@Mazech) February 18, 2021
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