Thursday 27 July 2023 | 32

Worryingly overweight and permanently stressed: a new complaint for the last circus elephant in France, Samba

Worryingly overweight and permanently stressed: a new complaint for the last circus elephant in France, Samba

Mis à jour le 25 October 2023

Nothing has changed for Samba since our first ‘meeting’ in 2002. Twenty years later, she is alone, moving between the lorry and the big top, always coerced into performing shows that are humiliating and dangerous for her body that has been bruised by decades of exploitation. Based on our latest investigation footage and four experts specialising in African elephants, we are filing a complaint against the Cirque d’Europe. The last French ‘circus elephant’ must be placed in a sanctuary before it is too late.

Hr blog

At 35 years old, Samba is still roaming around in Seine-et-Marne. Last April, we found her in Dammarie-les-Lys, then in June in Longperrier. The footage that we sent to courts is not deceptive; despite her declining health, she continues to be exploited relentlessly with the complicit inaction of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition.

Under the big top, fear and pain are the only reality

Parading around, turning herself around on a stool that is just about big enough for her four feet, walking on her wrists and collapsing to the ground... all with a circus performer permanently on her back. This is what Max Aucante forces her to eternally repeat on the Cirque d’Europe stage. An aberration when we know that such pressure on an elephant’s backbone can deform it, deteriorate their bones, and exacerbate arthritis. The effort that is asked of her is so significant that she urinates on herself during the performance.

How many times has Samba had to have been hit with an ankus to make her submit, for fear of being beaten like she was in 2003?

« “There is no doubt when it comes to the current mistreatment of this elephant and the need to move her... I recommend that Samba be taken away from this standard of treatment that has led directly to physical and mental injuries, both in the past and present. Samba needs high-quality care which can be offered by an elephant sanctuary.” »
Philip Ensley, veterinarian

Being enclosed and left alone for life

It does not matter, in the eyes of those who exploit her, that she is an extremely social, intelligent animal that is full of empathy… Outside of the shows, Samba is enclosed in a trailer where she barely has enough room to lay down, or even on the tarmac in an enclosure which would be incapable of preventing an escape if she tried to break out of her ordeal again. Desperately alone, she does not even have any enrichment to distract her.

The inaction of authorities has condemned French elephants

For Samba to have a dignified life far away from her trainer, we have rallied investigators, referred to the legal system, published reports, gained the support of specialists, organised protests, written to elected representatives... All this so that the Bouches-du-Rhône Prefecture, on which the circus relies, and the Ministry for the Ecological Transition can turn a deaf ear.

The old elephant in her thirties is currently overweight, the main cause of death among captive elephants. A place in a sanctuary is waiting for her in the United States. But we have to believe that the State would prefer her life to come to an end as miserable as it has always been in our country. If nothing is done quickly, she will be abandoned outside our borders to die there, like Dumba before her, or transferred with the agreement of the Ministry to a zoo abroad where her exploitation will continue indefinitely like Baby.

We will not let the State abandon Samba. We are once again referring to the legal system for her. Sign our petition to ask that the “last French circus elephant” be placed immediately in a sanctuary.

Translated from the French by Joely Justice

Marion Henriet
Hr blog

In the subject

Against all odds for Samba, the last ‘circus’ elephant, whose suffering has broken the State’s indifference We will defend the animals from the Franco-Belge Circus before the courts.

Comments 32

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

Louli | Monday 14 August 2023

Cessez d'exploiter cet animal, respecter-le, offrez lui, pour les années qu'il lui reste à vivre, une vie sans contraintes.
Ouvrez les yeux, ce n'est pas un spectacle de voir un noble animal exécuter un rituel qui est la cause de toutes ses souffrances que vous n'imaginez pas.

Kuky | Tuesday 01 August 2023

Si cet animal est exploité c'est avant tout à cause des gens qui vont voir ces spectacles ! Ils sont complices tout autant que les circassiens.
Il faut ouvrir les consciences !

Libell | Monday 31 July 2023

Respect à tous les animaux. Libération pour Samba pour sa fin de vie.
Tous les animaux sont dignes. Et nous les humains???

Farida | Monday 31 July 2023

Ras le bol de ces cirques avec animaux !! On est en 2023 mais c'est quoi le souci dans ce pays ?? Quand est-ce que l'on va mettre fin aux supplices de tous ces animaux sauvages utilisés comme de vulgaires divertissements !??