Stop entertainments with Elephants in Russia!

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In Russia elephants are still exploited for entertainments. And it is not to express love and respect, and that’s why:

- Lady elephants are forced not only to eat sugar, loosing their teeth without healing, but they are also forced to drink vodka! And this is a legal recommendation of vets of state circus.

- Elephants are treated as clowns with make up and fool dresses. This image teaches people to perceive elephants without respect and all it provokes is mocking at majestic creatures.

- For business are used not only captive elephants, but also disabled children!

Elephants are used as chalkboards for children, who draw on them.

Circus actors invites to the meeting with the elephants orphaned children and children with such disabilities as Down Syndrome and Cerebral palsy.

- Elephants are treated with whips and sticks, kept by chains around legs and electrical fence in small room.

- To stand on the trunk being in old age (over 60 years old!).


The practice of entertainments with elephants has a wrong and wicked impact on lives of wild animals and education of people, who see bad and not natural circumstances and ways of interaction with elephants. It also can be dangerous for children (especially, who’ve got health problems and are not mobile and active enough) and adult people, because elephants are suffering, their mental and physical health is being constantly destroyed, and they can be in nervous breakdown and panic attack. Even without wish to harm people, they can easily do it just being as huge and powerful as elephants are.


To find out more about exploitation of Asian lady elephants in Russia, keep on reading the petition.


1. The fate of elephants in Russia

Russia isn’t a native country for the elephants. All the elephants living in Russia were brought from India, Southeast Asia or Africa. The first elephant was brought to Russia in XVI century as a gift for Ivan the Fearsome from Persian Shah. That elephant was killed.

In early XVIII (1713) an elephant was presented to Peter the Great. The life of that elephant was short in Saint-Petersburg due to inappropriate living conditions.

During the XVIII-XIX century many other elephants were brought from time to time to Saint-Petersburg from Persia and India, but they didn’t live long.

When elephants came out for the walks on the streets of Saint-Petersburg, they were beaten by crowded people who threw to the elephants the sticks and stones.

In 1865 in Saint-Petersburg was opened the first Zoo where the elephants were exhibited and forced to show performances. In 1917 the last living elephant of Saint-Petersburg was shot down by a revolutionary.

During Soviet period the elephants were not happy too. One elephant died in 1918 at the age of 37 and the other injured elephant was dying for 3 days under the wreckages of building ruined by a bomb in 1941. In 1954 two elephants were brought from Vietnam. One of them gave birth to a baby and died in 3 years. The baby elephant fell into empty concrete pool, broke her spine and after that lived less than 3 years. The other elephant died after a hard disease at the age of 35. Now there are no elephants in Saint-Petersburg, the brutal “tradition” should be left far behind in the past.

Now in Russia elephants are kept for performances in the circuses and zoos.

2. Quantity of elephants in Russian circuses

The elephants are kept in captivity in circuses to perform in what circus artists call “amusement rides”. Circuses almost always keep in captivity Asian lady elephants, because they are meek, less rebellious than African elephants and Asian gentlemen elephants. Here are the groups of captive elephants:

– 2 Asian lady elephants (Suzie and Remy of 40 years old) are kept in Durov Animal Theatre in Moscow.

– 4 Asian lady elephants (Rango 60(!) years old, Gerda 30 years old, Pretty 30 years old and Margo 9 years old) are kept by Kornilovs Show (Show of Indian Elephants by The Kornilovs circus Dynasty). The show is constantly touring with the elephants through the country. That show is based in Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoi Boulevard.

– The shows of foreign circuses forbidden in their native countries are also performed in Russia. The Circus of Giant Animals by Gaertner brothers in Moscow is an international show with participation of circus actors from Italy, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Bulgaria, Poland etc. The “amusement rides” by foreign circus actors are constantly touring with their performances in collaboration with each other and separately. These are:

3 Asian lady elephants kept by Gaertner brothers from Germany (Baby, Lakshmi and Tich are 33, 68 and 53 years old).

2 Asian lady elephants Jennie (50 years old) and Magda (50 years old) kept by Sergey Gulevich (some Big Circus of Warsaw).

3. The circumstances for the elephants in Russia

Elephants are huge and powerful animals, living into large open space, which allows them to stay healthy and happy.

They used to live in warm and calm environment, where they were evolving according to these natural circumstances and all their features – both physical and psychological are closely connected with it.


In circus all their lives elephants are forced to go through the stress, caused by:

- Extremely small and limited space.

- Captive state, impossibility of making choices, the loss of will.

- Loneliness and absence of nature.

- Noises from music, sound effects, claps and exclamations of public.

- Bright and sharp illumination of spotlights and stage lighting.

- Whips and sticks used during trainings.

- Chains around legs.

- Poor diet.

- Being used as chalkboard for drawing by invited children (including children with physical and mental disabilities).

Circus actors invites to the meeting with the elephants orphaned children and children with such disabilities as Down Syndrome and Cerebral palsy.


Circus elephants express different signs of stereotypical behavior such as:

- swaying;

- pacing;

- aggression or panic attacks during nervous breakdown;


- In Russian circuses elephants are kept inside the buildings or in vehicles during the tours of the circuses. They are kept on the same place by chained legs or by using electrical fence.

- Eyes of the elephants are darkened intentionally because circus actors believe it protects the skin and makes elephants look more expressive. The eyes of elephants are darkened with Vaseline or Cod liver oil. Asian lady elephants are washed once a week with a shampoo.

- Asian lady elephant are treated with the whips and sticks. They are forced to do things which are against the nature of these animals. Such as balancing on one leg or standing on a trunk.

- The teeth of the elephants are not cured. If the elephant’s got the problem, circus actors are waiting till the teeth fall out of the mouth.

- During the repetitions circus actors constantly feed the elephants with the sugar.

- Lady elephants are forced to drink vodka, because the elephants are touring all the year round, even when the weather in Russia is very cold. The lady elephants are forced to tour even when the temperature outside drops to 40- C. During force majeure situations, when elephants need to go outside, they get injuries, such as frostbitten ears.

The performances are not canceled after all.

One of the elephants kept in previous time by Durov, was used in performances during a year, until the trainer has realized that elephant was blind.


4. The solution of the problem

Since the civilized society is characterized with careful attitude, protection and respect towards the animals, it is necessary to make everything possible for the elephants to help them live free and happy life.

To improve the situation with the elephants kept in captivity in Russia following steps are demanded:

– To stop bringing elephants to Russia;

– To forbid elephant performances by foreign circuses in Russia;

– To end using elephants in performances, “amusement rides” and other kinds of exploitation of elephants in Russia;

– To retire exploited elephants and to bring them to a sanctuary and rehabilitation center for the elephants.