Medical Reports of Tortured Rambo Circus Animals Made Public

The circus is not recognised by the Central Zoo Authority and banned by the Animal Welfare Board of India. 

Published
India
3 min read
Elephants chained and kept captive inside the Rambo Circus. (Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/wildlifesosindia/photos/a.76535498525.80634.47398783525/10153745110323526/?type=3&amp;theater">Facebook/Wildlife SOS</a>)

On 26 May, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), with the help of local police seized 22 animals from the Rambo Circus, India’s largest circus based in Mumbai, after complaints from animal protection groups started piling up. These include 14 dogs, four elephants and four horses.

Recently, the judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) of Pimpri, Pune allowed the circus to take back custody of the 22 animals, in response to which animal rights’ activists have released the health assessment reports of the torture and neglect faced by these animals.

Snapshot
  • The report was prepared by veterinarians of the Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Department.
  • The medical report of the horses show injuries on the tongue and the corners of the mouth; swollen joints and tendons; foot inspections and abnormal hoof shapes and poor hoof-horn quality.
  • The medical report of the dogs reflect several tick and flea infestations, untreated fractures, overgrown nails and an abnormal fear of humans.
  • The medical report of the elephants show visual impairment, swollen joints, infections inside the ears and on the tail, torn ear pinnas from sharp devices, foot rot, obesity and psychological deterioration due to prolonged confinement.
Gangrene and rot was found on the feet and tails of the elephants rescued from the Rambo Circus. (Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/wildlifesosindia/photos/a.76535498525.80634.47398783525/10153670642838526/?type=3&amp;theater">Facebook/Wildlife SOS</a>)
Gangrene and rot was found on the feet and tails of the elephants rescued from the Rambo Circus. (Photo: Facebook/Wildlife SOS)

The Precious Four

Wildlife SOS, the group rallying behind the rescue and rehabilitation of the four elephants - one 52-years-old and blind - in particular has lovingly named them the Precious Four. In what they have termed as the most “dangerous, exhausting and complicated rescue” till date, the elephants were rehabilitated to a Pune.

Wildlife SOS claims there were ready and able to care for the Precious Four for life, and yet a legal decision pushed the elephants back into slavery. (Photo: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/wildlifesosindia/photos/a.76535498525.80634.47398783525/10153730216333526/?type=3&amp;theater">Facebook/Wildlife SOS) </a>
Wildlife SOS claims there were ready and able to care for the Precious Four for life, and yet a legal decision pushed the elephants back into slavery. (Photo: Facebook/Wildlife SOS)

Wildlife SOS has been gathering public support through regular Facebook communication:

Today the Precious Four were forcibly taken from us and sent back to the circus. They have gone back to a life of spiked chains, neglect, and cruelty. We don’t understand how this could happen. Their bodies show the scars of decades of mistreatment. There are laws in place to protect these elephants. We were ready and able to give them lifetime freedom and care. Yet this was not enough to protect them from their abusers.

Even though the extensive medical report was submitted to the court, including details of conditions of in which animals are kept, a loophole in the law allowed Rambo Circus to come and collect these animals on Wednesday, 29 June.

This is the darkest day for improving the welfare of elephants that we have ever seen. We were making such progress treating them. And the law was on our side. But today justice failed to protect these vulnerable creatures.
Nikki Sharp, Executive Director, Wildlife SOS USA, speaking to The Dodo

When asked, those working with Rambo Circus seemed to think this was a fine way for the animal right groups to “ask for donations” from across the world, without ever making a set of rules or guidelines for the treatment of animals in circuses.

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