Video: Elephant Escapes Circus in Russia, Uses Freedom to Play in Snow

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

A sweet video showing an elephant playing in the snow the moment she escapes from captivity demonstrates exactly why circuses need to stop using animals.

The elephant, who’s being forced to perform in a circus in Russia, is making headlines after she was able to escape and enjoy a few moments of freedom. When the scheduled shows ended in Yekaterinburg, elephant handlers attempted to lead Karla and her companion Ranni outside and load them back into transport trucks to haul them to the next stop on the reported 10,000-mile tour. But Karla had other ideas. Even as a handler tried to push her back, she darted across the street to a large patch of snow. As onlookers got out their phones to take videos, she rolled and played in the soft white powder.

Ranni, perhaps emboldened by her companion, resisted being loaded as well and tried to stay outside. But the elephants’ freedom was short-lived. It didn’t take long for a dozen handlers to get a rope around Karla’s legs and pull her back to the transport truck.

Sadly, the gentle animal was likely beaten for disobeying her captors and trying to make her own choices. Through abusive training methods, elephants used for circuses, rides, elephant camps, and other activities meant to amuse humans are taught early on that if they don’t submit and do exactly as their captors tell them, the punishment will be severe.

To “train” elephants, still-nursing babies—usually between 18 and 24 months of age—are roped around all four legs and dragged away from their wailing mothers. From that point forward, they’re punished every time they attempt to engage in any type of instinctive, natural behavior until finally, their spirits are broken and they become submissive and obedient. Countless eyewitness videos have shown that trainers routinely beat, shock, and whip them until they learn to perform meaningless, confusing tricks.

Help Get Elephants out of the Abusive Entertainment Industry

Never give money to a circus that uses animals, an elephant-ride operator, or an elephant camp. And use PETA’s rapid-action form to speak up for elephants suffering in captivity:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind