Horrifying footage appears to show a chained elephant being whipped as he wails in pain.
The distressing clip was taken by a visitor at a Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka.
Animal activists have shared the footage of the animal, named Myan Prince, amid fears for his life.
He is seen lying in a filthy pool at the Bellanwila Temple close to capital city Colombo.
Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (RARE) say Myan Prince appears to be beaten "on a regular basis - and a petition to release him has been launched.
Maneesha Arachchige, from the charity, told The Metro : "He seems to be being beaten on a regular basis and the temple seems unconcerned.
"If action is not taken quickly we fear for the safety of those around the elephant as well as Myan Prince’s safety and wellbeing."
In the video, one man can be seen hitting the elephant's legs with sticks.
Experts say a heartbreaking 361 elephants died in Sri Lanka last year - and environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara told the BBC that 85% of these deaths could have been caused by humans.
There are an estimated 7,500 wild elephants in Sri Lanka.
In 2018 Myan Prince was blamed for the death of a 77-year-old monk in the Sri Lankan press.
He was said to have pushed Wimalarathana Thero to the ground causing him fatal injuries, but the temple denied this was the case.
The footage has been shared thousands of times, with outraged animal lovers voicing their horror.
Campaign group STOP to cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka posted on Facebook: "Shame on Sri Lanka’s Buddhist teachers and communities for not speaking up and instead promoting the captivity of elephants."