The video, which has since been removed from her Instagram, was captioned: “Natural vibes.” In a follow-up post, Kafelnikova shared an image presumably with the same elephant and said in the caption, “To love nature is human nature.”
Although there were a few comments showing support for Kafelnikova, the daughter of former tennis champion and world number one Yevgeny Kafelnikov, some users called her out for using the elephant for social media.
“Poor elephant. Aren’t you ashamed to lie naked on an elephant? This is a living creature. Money overshadows everything,” one comment reads.
The elephant is not native to the Indonesian island and its purpose is to be kept for tourism.
A spokesperson from the Save The Asian Elephants organization told The Sun that Kafelnikova’s photoshoot is “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.”
“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,” the spokesperson added.
Kafelnikova defended her photoshoot in a post on Feb. 18, arguing she has been giving financial support to the locals and animals of the village where she took the controversial photo. She further added she loved Bali and all animals.
“If someone does not know I have been doing charity work for many years and one of my last donations was financial support to animals and to local people in the village, in which I took these photos,” she wrote.
Kafelnikova said she took the pictures and video during a private photoshoot in Bali, where she currently resides. She also added she never intended to hurt the feelings of the local community.
“I would wish that all those who are so negative will awaken an aesthetic love for my post and you will see the wonderful beauty in it!” Kafelnikova added.
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