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Another Performing Elephant Dies: End The Use Of Elephants At Southwick’s Zoo And Flea World

August 6, 2010

From IDA

Please click HERE to send automatic letter

Throughout her life, the elephant Dondi was forced to give performances, photos ops, and rides, spending her summers in a small and utterly inadequate display at the Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Massachusetts, and her winters at a flea market and amusement park called Flea World in Sanford, Florida. Last week, Dondi died unexpectedly from unknown causes, ending her sad and unnatural life.

IDA immediately filed a complaint with the USDA, urging an investigation into Dondi’s death, which raised a red flag because at age 36 she should have been in the prime of life. Elephants have a natural lifespan of 60-70 years.

We also sent a letter to Southwick’s Zoo President Justine Brewer, urging the zoo to publicly release Dondi’s veterinary records and autopsy reports, and to end the practice of displaying elephants, as its tiny exhibit fails to meet elephants’ complex needs.

The Southwick’s Zoo has a history of using elephants for performances and rides during the summer months, and apparently wasn’t too picky about its providers. Before Dondi, Southwick’s used an elephant named Judy, whose handler originally leased her from the notorious Hawthorn Corporation (one of the many elephants the company was forced to relinquish due to serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act). She died in 2007, and was found to have tuberculosis.

At Flea World, Dondi gave rides and performed circus tricks designed to elicit laughs as people watched her shimmy to throbbing dance music and sit upright on a pedestal as her trainer stood atop her head. These performances were called “educational.”

Dondi was “owned” by Phil Schacht, who obtained the elephant from Thailand in 1975. Though he claims she was a beloved part of his family, he unfortunately did not do what was best for her. Dondi was held alone, which is extremely detrimental to elephants because of their highly social nature, confined in cramped pens, and trucked back and forth across the country. She performed with Circus Flora in 2007.

Please help give Dondi’s death meaning by ensuring that the Southwick’s Zoo and Flea World do not replace her with yet another suffering elephant.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 10:22 am

    My take is that Dondi died of depression. This happens often with such intelligent creatures held in captivity forced to do things against their will while people laugh at them. Recall Flipper…if you have seen The Cove you will know that one of the beautiful dolphins which played the famous Flipper committed suicide because of the depression and the daily stress.
    This has to stop. We have much to learn from these animals other than that they can be trained to do stupid tricks.
    This story made me extremely sad.


  2. Christy Melanson permalink
    August 6, 2010 12:00 pm

    done ty xx


  3. Jhonson Barrera permalink
    August 6, 2010 1:26 pm

    Not much to say,sad to see how the people is capable to do just for unmeasurable ambition, circus, petroleum companies, and the government just keep quiet allowing this criminal acts.


  4. Melissa Berger permalink
    August 6, 2010 7:18 pm

    Horrible!!! So very sad!! When will the “Humans” learn!!!!


  5. Alexandra Strong permalink
    August 7, 2010 5:01 am

    This is disgusting, and I am shocked people still go to this this humiliation and cruelty!!!! shame on you


  6. gloria permalink
    August 7, 2010 6:29 am

    Will men ever stop humilliating and torturing animals??
    How I wish this guy would have fallen and get hurt!

    By the way, no to spanish bullfighting.
    We need all support from around the world to erradicate this barbaric act in which the bull gets tortured to death.

    Gloria(Barcelona, Spain)


  7. August 8, 2010 6:19 am

    The public needs to be educated on the abuse and cruelty that is a constant in the lives of captive elephants. There is no educational value to these performances forced upon the elephants and every responsible parent should tell their children that. Every responsible adult who stands with the crowds and pays their money to watch the sadness of an elephant performing unnatural acts should be educated as to what they are really contributing their money to. It is not for the benefit of education and it is not for “animal enrichment.” The common thread that connects all zoos and circuses is GREED. An elephant can not be trained to perform with the promise of kindness. There is only pain and abuse and neglect and in the end… money in the pockets of these abusers.


  8. August 8, 2010 6:48 am

    Elephant’s don’t belong in captivity! People are killing a very smart animal. get wise folk. Boycott Circus’s & other events that exploit any animal! So sad!


  9. Judith permalink
    August 12, 2010 2:20 pm

    This very simply enrages me! Circus’s should only have clowns and other humans setting themselves on fire, etc! But I’m terrified of clowns, so many serial killers use to dress up as clowns. I wish the word Circus didn’t exist..!! These poor innocent dear hearts.. Cruel! Cruel! Cruel! Going to send letter now!


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