My Dear Elephant Friends Paula and Kristy
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM Bryan Monell
March 2020

Feeling utterly devastated. I just learned the effing bastards at the Monterrey zoo in CA savagely beat and killed my dear elephant friend Paula in 2018.

Paula (left) and Kirsty (right) inside the elephant truck...

Elephant tusks
Paula's trunk and tusks...

I apologize for the long note I'm about to write but I need to share some of her story. I first met Paula and Kristy two gorgeous African elephants when they were being held captive by the elephant torturing Carson and Barnes circus. Paula and I had an instant bond, like nothing I can describe. She and Kirsty were the only African elephants in the circus. The other 20+ elephants we toured with were Asian elephants who were beaten and forced to perform stupid routines and give rides. Paula and Kristy did not perform any acts they were simply there for people to look at. Paula had the longest eyelashes and tusks. She was stunningly beautiful and elegant.

When I first started working in the elephant department we had three African elephants but they sent Brittany off to a zoo a few months after I got there. Paula and Kristy just had to stand there all day in a tiny electrified pen. African elephants have a reputation for being flighty and harder to work than Asian elephants so no one in our department wanted to work the Africans. I said I had no problem and would be happy to work them so Tim Frisco gave me my own "herd" of Paula and Kristy. I was responsible for walking them to the pens, doing their foot and skin care, chaining them up, etc.

I worked with all the elephants but there was something about Paula. Have you ever met someone and you feel an instant bond, like you've already been best friends for a hundred years? We just clicked. I cleaned up, fed and watered Paula and Kristy on a daily basis. I even slept next to and against them on countless times unbeknownst to my employer. Not once did Paula or Kristy ever make an aggressive move towards me. In fact I knew Paula would have my back if anyone tried anything against me.

Everyone working elephants in the circus was told to always have a bullhook at all times when in the presence of the elephants. I quickly became so comfortable with Paula and Kristy I would go into the elephant trailer, unchain them and walk them to their pen at our setup for the day. Paula always led. As was the custom I told Paula "trunk up," at which point she would raise her trunk then I would say, "Kristy tails," at which point Kristy would grab Paula's tail with her trunk and that's how I walked them whenever we went anywhere. On countless occasions I would walk them without my bullhook. Tim Frisco caught me on a couple occasions walking them to the pens without a bullhook and he read me the riot act. He would tear into me screaming, threatening to kick my ass and say how dangerous it was to not have a bullhook but I knew I never once needed one. I knew the bullhook had to bring back bad memories for Paula and Kristy so out of respect for them I left my bullhook behind whenever I could get away with it.

I can explain it, and I realize a lot of people won't believe it, but Paula and I and Kristy had the kind of bond where if I wanted them, in particular Paula to do something, all I had to do was think it and she would do it. For instance while doing her nails, if I needed her to take a step back or move her left front foot or right front foot, I would think it and she would do that right away. It took awhile for me to actually accept that this was really happening. Paula and I had an unspoken communication but it was every bit as real as any conversation I've held with any human. I wish everyone could have experienced it and you'd believe. Of course I often told her out loud when no one else was in the barn or ear shot that I loved her and would do whatever I could to free her and the other enslaved circus elephants. She would often place her trunk on my face or use it to sniff my torso. I hugged her and kissed her cheeks numerous times. I'd sneak her and the other elephants treats and gently place the food on their tongue. Not a day went by went I didn't dream and try to figure a way to free her and Kristy and the others.

Paula was the sweetest, most beautiful soul one could ever have the honor of knowing. She never so much as swatted at a fly in the time I knew her. I've known more dangerous kittens than Paula. Her younger pal Kristy was more mischievous, harmless, and Paula acted like a big sister and kept her in line but always very gently. On occasion when I was working with other elephants at the circus and Tim had someone else move Paula and Kristy I saw them get poked and hit for no reason by whoever was moving them. I never saw Paul or Kristy do anything that would warrant being hit. That's just the way people in the industry treat all elephants all the time.

I am so sorry Paula and Kristy... I failed you. I never freed you and now you're dead. I hope for the same fate for those who beat and murdered you. I will never forget you Paula and Kristy and never stop honoring your lives. Fuck animal circuses and roadside zoos!

I'll never forget the time I left the circus the last time. I left in the middle of the night but went back to the elephant barn to say goodbye to all the elephants who were chained up to a cold concrete floor in a windowless barn. The last elephants I said good bye to were Paula and Kristy. I kissed Paula on her right cheek and hugged her for the longest time. I told her I would never forget her or the others and I'd be back. I had tears running down my cheeks and whether they were tears or something else flowing down from her eye my tears mixed with hers for a special time I'll never forget. About five months later when I returned, the first thing I did was go to Paula and Kristy's pen. Paula came right over to me put her trunk on my face and then let out a little happy rumble.

R.I.P. sweet Paula and Kristy.

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