Another Performing Elephant Dies
End The Use Of Elephants At Southwick’s Zoo And Flea World
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.
Please visit helpelephants.com at https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1585 to take action