Hundreds of visitors of Berlin Tierpark (one of two zoos in Berlin) – amongst them many children – had to watch an elephant caretaker freaking out and beating a young elephant on the head and body with merciless fierce and brutality on the 3rd September 2008.
“The caretaker beat the baby elephant with full force and extreme power using a metal rod – first on the head, afterwards on the small body of the baby. After all this had happened, the animal kept standing in one place very quietly for a while in the outside enclosure. Only minutes before that incident happened, exactly the same caretaker had kicked an elephant”, says Frank Albrecht, eye-witness and zoo expert for PETA Germany. “Many of the parents were quite shocked to learn that such brute force was used to break the animals’ spirits.”
The baby elephant’s mother, BIBI, was likely a traumatised cull orphan who was sold by Zimbabwe animal trader Bode to the Berlin zoo on the 10th October 1987 (when she was approximately two years old).
Animal Rights Africa is not surprised to see such video evidence. Animal rights groups around the globe have been criticising the fact that elephants in zoos, circuses and the elephant back safari industry have their spirits broken, with beatings, domination and humiliation. These methods cause fear, uncertainty and aggression which often lead elephants to run amok years later. Berlin Tierpark itself had to transfer a female elephant, MAFUTA, after she had attacked and injured an experienced caretaker in 2006. It is more than likely that this kind of training and humiliation caused her to see humans as her enemies.
“Animal caretakers cruelly beating an animal or kicking an elephant have clearly missed their calling. For this reason, we call for staff consequences at Berlin Tierpark”, explains Frank Albrecht. “As long as elephants have to spend their days in captivity, human violence and suffering will remain part of their daily routine.”
Animal Rights Africa calls on the South African government to ban the export and sale of elephants and other wild animals to overseas and local zoos, circuses and so-called “safari parks”.
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