Monday 11 July 2016 | 35

Three elephants in the prairie

Lechmee, Mina and Kamala, who are now quite old, are still locked up in the Medrano circus. Thanks to Code Animal and One Voice, they can have the retirement that they deserve in a sanctuary in France. It is just up to the circus to make this choice.

Hr blog

Three elephants walk in the prairie. The blind Lechmee is guided by her friends, Mina and Kamala, to the chestnut trees where she inhales the smell of the leaves and delightedly muzzles the rough bark with her trunk. Hills and scattered clumps of trees stretch out around them, with crop fields and the road on the foggy horizon. Lechmee can't see any of this, just vague shapes, but she feels it, she listens, and she shakes her ears. She is happy. The noise of the circus is behind her. After fourty-three years of noisy fanfares and cracks of the whip, she finally discovers birdsong, mumbling conversation with her two companions and endless promenades in the heather land against the setting sun.

How peaceful! How exquisite it is to finally live for these much-travelled elephants! Born in Asia in the 1960's, they were taken away from their families and then bought as children by Tyseley Pet Stores. Once in Britain, Lechmee, Mina and Kamala were first sold to the Chipperfield circus, and then found themselves under the iron rule of the Medran circus, but luckily always together.

Today, their suffering has ended. Lechmee and her friends have come to the Elephant Haven sanctuary, in the Périgord-Limousin regional park, receiving the very best care from the elephant experts there. They have joined other elephants, all tired by a life in captivity, who occasionally jump into a compulsive dance from one foot to the other, or swing their trunk manically. The trace of chains will remain in their minds long after the physical signs have gone, probably forever. Their memory is powerful, they can recall every detail of their violent lives: the prods in their groin, barked orders, the shouting of the crowd, the shows, the travelling, the carparks and the freezing mornings with the pain in their joints against the metal lorry floors. Lechmee has lost the use of her front right foot, and can only move slowly now. But her friends wait for her and stay close, as they always have done.

We have to stop dreaming now…This happy picture is still just a dream. Lechmee, Mina and Kamala are still shackled to the Medrano circus and still take part in shows. Lechmee is required by the 18 th of March 2011 decree to be placed in a fixed residence, due to her state of health. But not on her own, this would kill her, and would destroy her two companions. These old elephants, who have been inseparable for half a century, should be able to live the rest of their lives together in peace. This is what Code Animal and One Voice are asking for with Elephant Haven.

Their destiny is hanging by a thread. One word. One decision. The circus can allow for a dignified and peaceful retirement for its elephants in a natural sanctuary. This gesture would be received by the public with gratitude.

If this decision is not taken, Lechmee, Kamala and Mila will die one by one from exhaustion, without ever having found the happiness of walking free, unchained, as when they were children. And that will be a failure for everyone.

But we don't think for an instant the Medrano circus will make the right decision!

Yvon Godefroid
Hr blog

In the subject

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Comments 35

I accept that publication of my comments is subject to the code of conduct.

Eric57480 | Friday 20 April 2018

Est-ce qu'une pétition existe pour vous soutenir?

marinette | Thursday 19 April 2018

Il faudrait que les parents aient le courage de dire à leurs enfants la souffrance de ces animaux dans ces cirques et de ne pas y aller. Montrer à ces enfants des cirques comme le cirque du soleil et autres sans animaux où il y a aussi de belles attractions bien plus intelligentes.

Mes tresors mon Oxygene | Friday 22 September 2017

Maudits soient les cirques avec animaux ....... le moyen age est fini depuis bien longtemps......ces circassiens de malheur doivent arreter leurs tours minables, empreintsde souffrance animale. Liberons TOUS les animaux de cirques. Je pense aussi à SAMBA, à qui je pense si souvent depuis plus de 10 ans.J espere que ONE VOICE arrivera un jour à la sauver.

Pinpon | Saturday 24 June 2017

Il faut aider les cirques à trouver d'autres attractions pour les enfants.