following is a partial listing of rampages by captive elephants
since 1990. These incidents have resulted in 59 deaths and more
than 120 injuries.
June 17, 2002/Menomonie, Wis.: Two elephants,
named Tory and Mary, performing with the Shrine Circus bolted out
of a circus tent during a show, scattering crowds. Mary hiked 2
miles through town and was recaptured at the University of Wisconsin-Stout
campus when trucks blocked her escape. One child was injured, and
the elephants damaged a door at the park and caused $600 in damage
to a city truck. The Shriners had contracted with George Carden
Circus for the event.
May 28, 2002/Dhaka, Bangladesh: The owner
of Seven Star Circus and two trainers were arrested and charged
with negligence after a chained elephant grabbed a 10-year-old boy
with her trunk, threw him to the ground, and trampled him to death.
The boy had been petting the elephant when she suddenly went berserk.
March 13, 2002/Easley, S.C.: An elephant
named Tonya, belonging to Robert Childress and used in various circuses,
escaped the control of her handlers while she was being loaded into
a trailer, fled into nearby woods, and was recaptured with the assistance
of police. This is the fourth time that Tonya has run amok.
January 28, 2002/Phnom Penh, Cambodia:
An elephant kept at a military camp knocked down and trampled a
keeper to death as he was being fed. The elephant was later shipped
to Cambodia's national zoo.
October 27, 2001/Charlotte, N.C.: Two elephants
leased by Hawthorn Corporation to Circus Vazquez rampaged throughout
a church. Two church members were nearly trampled, and children
had to be quickly ushered to safety. The elephants crashed into
the church through a glass window, broke and buckled walls and door
frames, and knocked a car 15 feet, causing an estimated $75,000
in damages. The elephants suffered cuts and bruises. One of the
elephants had rampaged twice before.
October 20, 2001/London, England: A zookeeper
was crushed to death when an elephant rolled on him at the London
Zoo, while dozens of visitors looked on. Critics had earlier charged
that the zoo's facilities were too cramped to keep elephants in.
After the keeper's death, the London Zoo decided to send all three
of its elephants to an animal park.
August 24, 2001/Knoxville, Tenn.: A 40-year-old
elephant became spooked, broke free from her handlers, and smashed
through a metal gate while being taken on a walk at the Knoxville
Zoo. One handler required five stitches for a gash on his head caused
when the elephant knocked him down, and another suffered a broken
rib when the elephant swiped at him.
August 6, 2001/Czech Republic: A zookeeper
at Dvur Kralove nad Labem zoo was killed when an elephant attacked
him with his tusks, inflicting fatal injuries to his chest. The
attack occurred after the keeper tripped over the elephant's chains
while giving him an injection.
July 31, 2001/Singapore: A zookeeper was
hospitalized with fractured ribs and a punctured lung after an elephant
lifted him with his trunk and gored him during an afternoon walk.
July 17, 2001/Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: An
elephant used in movies and TV commercials wrapped his trunk around
his trainer and lifted him off the
ground, breaking a rib and injuring his lungs.
June 14, 2001/Kathmandu, Nepal: An elephant
used in a ceremony killed a woman and later chased a group of dignitaries
after being taunted by a crowd of onlookers.
June 10, 2001/Denver, Colo.: When her trainer
dropped a barrel during a bathing demonstration, a 6,700-pound elephant
named Hope became startled and rampaged, throwing her trainer against
a wall, scattering crowds of zoogoers, and knocking over a mother
and her baby in a stroller. The baby was treated at a hospital for
a bump on the head, the trainer suffered cuts and bruises, a man
sprained his ankle, and a woman had an asthma attack while running
away from the elephant. Hope was recaptured three hours later. Hope
and a baby elephant had been leased two weeks earlier from the California-based
company Have Trunk Will Travel to perform daily shows during the
April 16, 2001/Broederstroom, South Africa:
An elephant with Brian Boswell's circus who was being used on a
film set killed her handler. The elephant, who had been grazing,
walked over, knocked down the handler with her trunk, and possibly
stepped on him.
February 22, 2001/Moscow, Russia: A trainer
was crushed to death by an elephant following a performance at the
February 9, 2001/Chester, England: A zookeeper
at the Chester Zoo was in critical condition with injuries to his
head and shoulders after he was butted and knocked down by a 30-year-old
Asian elephant. The man died after 11 days in the intensive care
November 21, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand:Three
politicians were thrown eight feet when an elephant they were riding
panicked upon seeing traffic and bolted through the streets. One
man suffered a broken arm, another sustained head, arm, and leg
injuries, and the third man was badly bruised.
November 16, 2000/Lyon, France: Five elephants
with a circus, panicked by a car horn, stampeded and wrecked six
July 13, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
used for giving rides to tourists gored a man to death after the
man teased him by pretending to offer food.
June 22, 2000/Washington, Pa.: An elephant
named Tonya traveling with Circus Hope became frightened when children
approached her with toy horns. Tonya escaped the control of her
handlers and was later led back to her tent by police officers,
security personnel, and trainers. All the animals in the circus
were "on edge" because of highway noise and the surface
of the parking lot.
May 5, 2000/Maun, Botswana: An elephant
being used in a safari operation was spooked and attacked a guide,
May 1, 2000/São Paulo, Brazil: A
9-year-old girl suffered a broken jaw and lost 10 teeth after an
elephant being kept in the Sorocaba Zoo threw a large stone at her.
The child had to undergo surgery, with another surgery scheduled
April 24, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
used in a tourist park went berserk during a show and attacked three
visitors, killing one and seriously injuring the other two.
April 20, 2000/Yucca Valley, Calif.: Two
elephants being used by the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus
escaped from their pens. One stomped down three city blocks, frightening
bystanders. Authorities said that a circus employee trying to get
the second elephant under control was "trampled."
February 14, 2000/Bangkok, Thailand: A
bull elephant tossed his handler off his back and went berserk in
the heart of Bangkok, stampeding through a major shopping district
before being tranquilized. The elephant was hungry and exhausted
from walking along the busy streets begging for money for his handler,
a common practice in Thailand.
February 7, 2000/Thailand: A bull elephant,
used as a working animal, killed one man and crushed the arm of
another. The man's arm was so badly injured, it had to be amputated.
February 7, 2000/London, England: A keeper
at a British zoo was crushed to death by one of the elephants in
his care. The handler was found with multiple injuries in the elephant's
January 26, 2000/Riverview, Fla.: A female
elephant named Kenya attacked and killed her trainer at the Ramos
Family Circus winter compound. Kenya knocked the trainer to the
ground, stepped on her, and knocked her down a second time when
the woman tried to stand up. Kenya was used in the Ramos' traveling
shows and to give rides.
January 8, 2000/Thodupuzha, India: A show
designed to get placed in the Guinness Book of World Records ended
in tragedy when seven baby elephants panicked and ran amok, killing
one bystander and injuring several others. Several cars-including
that of the ambassador-were smashed. The secretary of India's Elephant
Protection Council said that elephants run amok or die mainly because
of torture. The council said that 250 mahouts and 234 elephants
have been killed in the state since 1980.
December 22, 1999/Madison, Wis.: An elephant
attacked two keepers at the Henry Vilas Zoo, throwing one against
the wall and grabbing the other in her mouth. The elephant has injured
people at least three other times since being brought to the zoo
October 24, 1999/Valledupar, Colombia:
An elephant gored and trampled her trainer to death after performing
in a show with the Modelo Circus. Maggy had just gone through her
nightly routine when she suddenly turned on her whip-wielding trainer,
tossed him into the air, and impaled him with her tusks.
July 11, 1999/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
used for carrying tourists at a popular resort gouged his 13-year-old
keeper to death. The boy was taking the 25-year-old elephant, Boonlieng,
for his usual bath when the animal suddenly became nervous and killed
May 15, 1999/Ontario, Canada: A 23-year-old
American circus worker died after an elephant backstage at a circus
performance attacked him. Police say the man, who assisted the trainers
with the animals in the Leonardo Circus, was kicked in the head.
April 29, 1999/Duluth, Minn.: An animal
handler with the Tarzan Zerbini Circus (also doing business as Circus
Maximus) was injured by an elephant and hospitalized in serious
condition with multiple injuries.
February 21, 1999/Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Luna,
an elephant with the Royal Hanneford Circus, escaped the ring and
charged the crowd in the middle of a performance. Luna ran through
two tiers of seats, causing panic and sending spectators running
November 17, 1998/Kathmandu, Nepal: A circus
elephant killed her trainer and ran through the town of Janadpur.
Police shot the elephant 40 times and killed her.
November 9, 1998/Indianapolis, Ind.: Cita,
a 29-year-old elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo, attacked her keeper
after being reprimanded. She struck the keeper with her trunk, breaking
August 27, 1998/Syracuse, N.Y.: An elephant
with the Commerford & Sons petting zoo, carrying children on
her back at the state fair, panicked and knocked down her trainer,
then stepped on him. A 3-year-old girl was also injured after falling
off the elephant. Both were treated at a local hospital.
July 1998/Madison, Wis.: An Asian elephant
named Winky and an African elephant named Penny injured a zookeeper
at the Henry Villas Zoo. The zookeeper was "picked up by one,
thrown and [then] knelt down upon by a second elephant."
June 1998/Minsk, Belarus: A male elephant
named Surik at the Hrodno Zoo in Belarus suddenly attacked a keeper,
who died of her injuries.
February 16, 1998/Mentor, Ohio: A circus
elephant named Tonya panicked while in a high school hallway and
forced open a door. She ran a quarter of a mile and damaged a police
car before being caught outside a discount store.
December 25, 1997/Colombo, Sri Lanka: Raja,
an elephant at the National Zoological Gardens who had killed his
trainer 18 months before, killed another trainer by grabbing him
with his trunk and goring him with his tusk.
November 3, 1997/Bangkok, Thailand: An
elephant killed eight people and injured his trainer.
September 23, 1997/New Delhi, India: An
elephant forced to carry heavy loads went berserk, trampled his
owner to death, and destroyed nearly 100 huts before being shot
and killed by police.
June 28, 1997/Seagoville, Texas: A 65-year-old
man who entered a "storage yard for circus animals" was
attacked by an elephant and suffered a broken arm and dislocated
May 28, 1997/Gainesville, Texas: An elephant
at the Frank Buck Zoo crushed her handler to death.
April 13, 1997/Calgary, Canada: An elephant
bit her trainer on the head and back at the Shrine Circus. The circus
refused to remove the elephant from public performances stating,
"Elephants are safe."
March 17, 1997/Bangkok, Thailand: A spooked
elephant killed an Australian man at a tourist show in northern
January 1997/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
was gunned down after breaking free and going berserk.
October 20, 1996/Los Angeles, Calif.: An
assistant trainer was attacked by a female elephant during a training
exercise at the Los Angeles Zoo. Onlookers reported that the elephant
grabbed the worker's head, knocked him down, and tried to trample
him. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for three broken
ribs and a broken collarbone.
July 1996/Quebec, Canada: An elephant attacked
her trainer while he was preparing to give elephant rides.
June 14, 1996/Casper, Wyo.: An elephant
knocked down and repeatedly kicked her trainer. At the time of the
incident, the elephant was giving rides to children. One child fell
off the elephant. This elephant was performing with Jordan World
Circus and is currently owned by John Cuneo. She is the same elephant
who attacked a trainer in Salt Lake City in 1994.
June 1996/Colombo, Sri Lanka: Raja, a "star"
attraction at the National Zoological Gardens in Sri Lanka, was
being led to a performance when he grabbed his trainer with his
trunk and smashed him against a pole, killing him.
June 1996/Iquique, Chili: An elephant at
a circus killed a 10-year-old boy after knocking him down during
a circus performance.
February 8, 1996/Thailand: An elephant
was shot and killed after he killed his owner and damaged several
houses. The elephant had broken free just the night before and caused
damage in the village.
1996/Rome, Italy: A trainer was killed
by an elephant with the Tongi Circus.
December 7, 1995/Cairo, Egypt: An elephant
being used to give rides at the Cairo Zoo killed her keeper by picking
him up, throwing him to the ground, and stomping on him. Veterinarians
said the elephant had recently seemed severely depressed.
July 10, 1995/Queens, N.Y.: Two elephants
with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus went on a rampage, triggering
a panic among hundreds of spectators that left 12 people injured.
Six spectators were hospitalized after the elephants bolted from
the circus tent and crashed into a parked car before being brought
under control by a trainer.
May 19, 1995/Hanover, Pa.: Two elephants
with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus rampaged at the North Hanover
Mall, smashing store windows, damaging cars, and escaping into the
woods. One of the elephants, Frieda, killed Joan Scovell, 47, of
New London, Conn., in 1985 by grabbing the woman with her trunk
and throwing her down to the ground in a parking lot of the New
May 1995/Zurich, Switzerland: An 11-year-old
female elephant seriously injured herkeeper and was later destroyed.
April 2, 1995/Brussels, Belgium: Two elephants
trampled their keeper to death at a wildlife park. The male and
female pair broke out of their pens because they were upset at being
separated from each other.
March 16, 1995/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
in a circus trampled two men to death before being shot and killed
by police. The elephant was killed when chloroform bullets failed
to stop him from charging the crowd.
February 1995/Fort Wayne, Ind.: An employee
of Tarzan Zerbini Circus was stepped on by an elephant while loading
the elephants into a trailer. The employee suffered a crushed pelvis
and was in critical condition.
October 10, 1994/Riley County, Kan.: A
3-year-old girl was feeding grass to a 15-month-old elephant at
the King Royal Circus when the elephant wrapped his trunk around
her neck and attempted to pull her into the arena. The girl was
treated for injuries at a local hospital.
August 20, 1994/Honolulu, Hawaii: Tyke,
an elephant with Circus International, killed her trainer and stomped
and injured a circus groom and a dozen spectators. Tyke ran amok
just before her performance, breaking out of the arena and leading
police on a chase down several city blocks until they shot her to
death with almost 100 bullets. This was the second elephant incident
at the circus in as many weeks.
Multiple lawsuits were filed.
August 15, 1994/Honolulu, Hawaii: Elaine,
an elephant with Circus International, pinned Sean Floyd, his wife,
and their eight children under a fence that separated the first
row of spectators from the circus rings. Floyd and his 15-year-old
daughter, Rachel, suffered injuries.
August 4, 1994/Laie, Hawaii: Two family
members were injured when an elephant at Circus International knocked
a metal barrier onto the family, pinning them to the bleachers.
Suits were filed against John Cuneo and the Hawthorn Corporation,
owners of the elephant, and also against Ralph Yempuku, the circus
July 23, 1994/Nyborg, Denmark: An elephant
at Circus Benneweis attacked her trainer and trampled members of
the audience before running amok through the town's harbor. Two
people were injured. The elephant later returned on her own to join
her three companions and was destroyed.
July 18, 1994/New York, N.Y.: An elephant
with the Moscow Circus attacked a Russian translator backstage at
ABC's Live With Regis and Kathie Lee television show. The elephant
repeatedly smashed her head into the woman, pinning her to a wall
and leaving her with a skull fracture, broken ribs, and a punctured
lung. Lawsuits are pending against the circus, the show, and ABC
for $5 million.
July 1, 1994/Louisville, Ky.: A man visiting
the Louisville Zoological Gardens was picked up and dropped several
times by an elephant. As a result of the man's injuries, his spleen
and part of his pancreas were removed. The elephant had just finished
giving rides to zoo visitors and was being led away when she wandered
away and picked up the man. Zoo officials believe the elephant,
normally considered calm and docile, was just "horsing around."
April 6, 1994/Salt Lake City, Utah: While
giving rides to two children, an elephant picked up, tossed, and
stepped on an animal trainer with the Jordan Circus, breaking his
arm and ribs and causing internal organ damage. Another trainer
was also injured in the incident.
April 1994/Muskegon, Mich.: Three children
were injured when an elephant giving rides at a Shrine-sponsored
circus fell into the passenger loading platform, spilling the riders
and bending the platform.
March 16, 1994/Java, Indonesia: An elephant
giving rides to a family of three at the Surabaya Zoo tossed them
off, trampled them, and ran wildly through the zoo, injuring seven
February 24, 1994/Chicago, Ill.: An elephant
handler suffered broken ribs, a broken sternum, a collapsed lung,
and a wound on her back when she slipped under an elephant she was
trying to secure. The elephant had broken through some chains and
ropes in the holding area at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The handler is
seeking $1 million in damages against the zoo.
January 30, 1994/Cleveland, Ohio: An elephant
at the Cleveland Zoo lunged at her keeper, gashing his head. Although
zoo officials said the elephant had never before acted so aggressively,
they believe she had a "temper tantrum" as a result of
her confinement during a sub-zero cold spell.
October 1993/Toronto, Canada: An elephant
keeper was gored by an elephant, causing serious injuries.
September 1993/Vallejo, Calif.: Radio personality
Scott Stuart was posing for a publicity photograph when an elephant
ran wildly across a public area and threw Stuart onto a cement path.
The elephant was being used to give rides to children. Stuart sued
the park for the injuries he suffered and was awarded $600,000 in
an out-of-court settlement.
July 30, 1993/Tampa, Fla.: An elephant
at the Lowry Park Zoo killed her keeper by pinning her to the ground
and kicking her in the chest. Several weeks beforehand, the elephant
had pushed the same keeper into a moat surrounding the elephant
July 23, 1993/Minot, N.D.: Tyke, the elephant
killed in the August 20, 1994, incident described above, escaped
from her trainer while at the North Dakota State Fair and trampled
an elephant show worker, breaking two of his ribs.
June 5, 1993/Fishkill, N.Y.: An elephant
crushed a man to death by pinning him against a trailer in the elephant
area of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus grounds at the Fishkill
May 5, 1993/Williston, Fla.: A circus trainer
died of internal injuries after an elephant knocked him down and
stomped on his chest at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
Circus elephant farm.
April 21, 1993/Altoona, Pa.: A female elephant,
Tyke, charged through an arena entryway during a Great American
Circus performance. She ripped away part of the wall, causing $10,000
in damage. More than 3,000 children were in the audience. One young
girl suffered injuries to her ankle. Her parents made a cash settlement
with the Hawthorn Corporation. The elephant ran out onto an upstairs
balcony and was later coaxed back by her trainers.
February 23, 1993/Pliego, Spain: An elephant
handler was injured when an elephant leading a parade drove her
tusk into the handlers back.
December 16, 1992/San Antonio, Texas: An
elephant killed his keeper by grabbing him and slamming him to the
ground as he was leading a group of elephants into an enclosure
at the San Antonio Zoo.
November 2, 1992/San Salvador, El Salvador:
An elephant at the San Salvador National Zoo crushed her keeper
to death as schoolchildren looked on. The elephant had spent her
entire life at the zoo without a mate and was reportedly "frustrated
and lonely." She killed two keepers in 15 years.
July 15, 1992/Lafayette, Ind.: Nine people
were injured when they could not get out of the way as elephants
in the Tarzan Zerbini International Circus collided and toppled
a barricade at a shopping center.
April 24, 1992/Delhi, India: An elephant
killed a man after the man had been tormenting the elephant with
February 1, 1992/Palm Bay, Fla.: An elephant
with the Great American Circus went on a rampage while carrying
children on her back. She injured 12 people and threw a police officer
to the ground before being shot and killed by police.
1992/Moscow, Russia: A keeper at the Moscow
Zoo was killed by an elephant.
December 1991/Houston, Texas: An elephant
attacked her trainer and broke his collarbone and four ribs.
August 1991/Leicestershire, England: An
elephant at the Twycross Zoo killed her keeper as he was examining
her injured foot. She butted him with her head, breaking his neck
against the cage bars.
July 10, 1991/Tokyo, Japan: An elephant,
apparently maddened by being confined to a cage, trampled her keeper
April 1991/Bangkok, Thailand: An elephant
was frightened by a camera flash and trampled a person to death.
March 15, 1991/San Diego, Calif.: A keeper
was killed by an elephant at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.
January 13, 1991/Oakland, Calif.: An animal
handler who was cleaning an elephant's pen at the Oakland Zoo was
kicked to death by the elephant.
1991/Portland, Ore.: Tamba, an elephant
with Metro Washington Park Zoo, "accidentally" slammed
a trainer against a wall. Seven months later, he knocked the same
man down, fracturing his skull. He survived, but zookeepers decided
to keep him away from Tamba.
1991/Windsor, Canada: A circus hand was
killed by an elephant.
June 8, 1990/Reading, Pa.: During a Great
American Circus show, an elephant attacked her trainer and went
on a rampage, panicking the crowd and injuring one man.
June 1990/Sarasota, Fla.: A circus elephant
crushed her trainer to death.
April 10, 1990/Oakdale, Calif.: An elephant
giving rides threw the passengers off. The elephant began spinning
and bumping into cars before she was brought under control. One
passenger fell and was dragged 40 feet before being freed.
March 1990/Loxahatchee, Fla.: Trying to
avoid a rampaging pachyderm, an elephant handler climbed under his
truck, but the elephant used her trunk to grab the man's leg, drag
him out from under the truck, and gore him with her tusks. The trainer
February 13, 1990/San Francisco, Calif.:
An elephant keeper at the San Francisco Zoo suffered a fractured
back when he was pushed into a moat by an elephant.
January 1990/Oakland, Calif.: An 18-year-old
elephant crushed his handler to death.
1990/Japan: A keeper was killed by an elephant
at the Cunna Safari Park.