Ailing elephants rescued from circus, but a cruel twist of fate forces them to go back
Ailing elephants rescued from circus, but a cruel twist of fate forces them to go back

Ailing elephants rescued from circus, but a cruel twist of fate forces them to go back

The elephants have been forced to perform painful and unnatural tricks in the circus for decades, according to WSOS.

Four ailing elephants, including a blind one, which were rescued from the Rambo Circus in Pune last month have been forced to re-join the circus. This, after a Pune court ruled in favour of the circus based on a procedural flaw.

According to Wildlife SOS (WSOS), an animal rights organisation which was taking care of the rescued elephants, the four elephants, aged 25, 35, 41, and 52, had been made to forcibly perform at the circus for decades.

Elephants being kept at the circus

The organisation in a statement said, “During evaluations of the circus, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), both autonomous bodies of the Government of India, discovered severe violations of the law, including the illegal infliction of cruelty upon the elephants.”

Elephants chained in both front and hind legs

Following this, not only was the circus’ permission to performance was cancelled, but CZA also cancelled its recognition of the circus. 

The animals were then, according to directions issued by CZA, sent for rehabilitation and medical treatment. The elephants, named Goldie, Sylvie, Pearl and Ruby, were sent to WSOS’s care, whereas other animals like dogs and horses used in the circus were sent to other organisations.

Rambo Circus claimed in court that the notice filed by AWBI had not been sent to the correct postal address which prompted the court to rule in their favour. After a stand-off that lasted for around eight hours, people from the circus eventually managed to wrest the elephants away from WSOS representatives.

This in spite of the court being provided with “detailed health reports on all of the elephants that explained in great detail the amount of brutality and suffering they had undergone, as well as injuries to their legs, rotting footpads, overgrown toenails, severe debilitation, wounds on their mouths, and swelling from circus beatings,” WSOS said.

The elephants, which were made to perform illegally, were also chained in their own dung and urine for months, it added. 

One of the elephants with WSOS

The court order states that the circus may use the animals for performances without subjecting them to cruelty. Wildlife SOS however believes that it is not possible to make animals perform without cruelty. “The four elephants were badly bruised, one of them was blind. We hope we can get them back to care and treatment”, said Suvidha Bhatnagar, Communication Officer at WSOS India.

Wildlife SOS has started a campaign on urging the government and the court to reconsider the decision to send the elephants back to the circus. The animal rights organisation is now exploring legal action so that proper care for the elephants can be resumed. “We believe the honourable courts will deliver justice for these elephants and others to come. We will continue to approach the courts seeking justice for these animals that have suffered for decades for trivial entertainment and amusement of people”, said Geeta Seshamani, co-founder of Wildlife SOS.

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