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Dead Southwick’s Zoo Elephant Had Tuberculosis Please Act Today

September 19, 2010

Immediate, please submit the form found HERE

From IDA


In August, over 5,000 IDA members sent e-mails expressing concern over the death of Dondi, a 36-year-old Asian elephant who died suddenly at Southwick’s Zoo in Massachusetts. Now, an autopsy conducted on Dondi reportedly reveals that she had tuberculosis.

Dondi had been used to give children rides. Tuberculosis in elephants presents a serious public health concern as the animals can transmit the disease to humans as well as other elephants. USDA guidelines for the control of TB in elephants state: “Direct contact transmission may occur during activities such as touching or riding an elephant, being touched by an elephant, examining, medicating, bathing, and handling animals.”

IDA is calling on Southwick’s Zoo to immediately release Dondi’s necropsy report as a matter of public safety. We believe people have the right to know the truth about Dondi’s death and the impact that may have on public health. At age 36, Dondi should have been in the prime of her life. Elephants have a natural lifespan of 60-70 years.

Dondi was the second elephant held at the Southwick’s Zoo who had tuberculosis. Before her, Southwick’s used an elephant named Judy, who was not allowed to give rides due to known prior exposure to tuberculosis-positive elephants. After her death in 2007, she was found to have the disease.

IDA is calling on the zoo to end the use of elephants for shows and rides, because it is inhumane for the elephants and unsafe for the public. Dondi spent her winters performing and giving rides in Florida, and summers in the New England area, giving rides at events such as the Guilford Fair. She reportedly had been in contact with other elephants who are commonly used for rides in the New England area.

what you can do graphic

Please submit the form found HERE to send an e-mail to Southwick’s Zoo President Justine Brewer, urging the zoo to end the use of elephants for rides, performances and display.


As one who loves both elephants and children, I am deeply troubled by the news that a second dead Southwick’s Zoo elephant had tuberculosis. That this elephant was used to give children’s rides is terrifying, since TB is transmissible from elephants to people.

I urge you to please stop the use of elephants at your facility. Tuberculosis is difficult to detect in elephants, who can harbor the disease, sometimes for years, and show no clinical symptoms. The USDA is still working to determine how widespread tuberculosis is among elephants in the U.S.

In addition to the public health concerns are the ethical concerns I am greatly troubled by the circus-style display of elephants. Elephants are intelligent and sensitive animals who suffer greatly in artificial and inadequate environments. Exhibits such as yours hold elephants in grossly unnatural conditions, trained to perform crass circus tricks for shows that are falsely labeled “educational.” Continuing to use such acts will undoubtedly attract controversy and bring unwanted negative attention to your business.

Please do the right thing – permanently stop all elephant shows and rides, as well as the display of elephants in unnatural conditions.

Zoo Is Cruelty

Horrific cruelty at Ringling! Please help, one automatic letter.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 19, 2010 4:56 pm

    You dont need animals for god sake that poor baby what a bad lonly life hes had go get a real job leaveanimals alone


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