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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

8 March 2001 Fact Sheet


Elephants in circuses are rebelling in attempts to escape their sad existences. Since 1990, elephants have killed at least 46 people and injured many more. In 1994, an elephant killed her trainer and injured 12 spectators before being gunned down by almost 100 bullets while running terrified through downtown Honolulu. In 1994, officer Blayne Doyle, who had to shoot 47 rounds into Janet, an elephant who charged out of the Great American Circus arena, lamented: "I think these elephants are trying to tell us that zoos and circuses are not what God created them for. But we have not been listening."

Statistic on elephant attacks since the year 2000

February 9, 2001/Chester, England A zookeeper at the Chester Zoo was in critical condition with injuries to his head and shoulders after he was butted and knocked down by a 30-year-old Asian elephant.

November 21, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand Three politicians were thrown eight feet when an elephant they were riding panicked upon seeing traffic and bolted through the streets. One man suffered a broken arm, another sustained head, arm, and leg injuries, and the third man was badly bruised.

November 16, 2000/Lyon, France Five elephants with a circus, panicked by a car horn, stampeded and wrecked six cars.

June 22, 2000/Washington, Pa. An elephant named Tonya traveling with Circus Hope became frightened when children approached her with toy horns. Tonya escaped the control of her handlers and was later led back to her tent by police officers, security personnel, and trainers. All the animals in the circus were "on edge" because of highway noise and the surface of the parking lot.

May 5, 2000/Maun, Botswana An elephant being used in a safari operation was spooked and attacked a guide, killing him.

May 1, 2000/São Paulo, Brazil A 9-year-old girl suffered a broken jaw and lost 10 teeth after an elephant being kept in the Sorocaba Zoo threw a large stone at her. The child had to undergo surgery, with another surgery scheduled later.

April 24, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand An elephant used in a tourist park went berserk during a show and attacked three visitors, killing one and seriously injuring the other two.

April 20, 2000/Yucca Valley, Calif. Two elephants being used by the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus escaped from their pens. One stomped down three city blocks, frightening bystanders. Authorities said that a circus employee trying to get the second elephant under control was "trampled."

February 14, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand A bull elephant tossed his handler off his back and went berserk in the heart of Bangkok, stampeding through a major shopping district before being tranquilized. The elephant was hungry and exhausted from walking along the busy streets begging for money for his handler, a common practice in Thailand.

February 7, 2000/Thailand A bull elephant, used as a working animal, killed one man and crushed the arm of another. The man's arm was so badly injured that it had to be amputated.

February 7, 2000/London, England A keeper at a British zoo was crushed to death by one of the elephants in his care. The handler was found with multiple injuries in the elephant’s stall.

January 26, 2000/Riverview, Fla. A female elephant named Kenya attacked and killed her trainer at the Ramos Family Circus winter compound. Kenya knocked the trainer to the ground, stepped on her, and knocked her down a second time when the woman tried to stand up. Kenya was used in the Ramos’ traveling shows and to give rides.

January 8, 2000/Thodupuzha, India A show designed to get placed in the Guinness Book of World Records ended in tragedy when seven baby elephants panicked and ran amok, killing one bystander and injuring several others. Several cars—including that of the ambassador—were smashed. The secretary of India’s Elephant Protection Council said that elephants run amok or die mainly because of torture. The council said that 250 mahouts and 234 elephants have been killed in the state since 1980.

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