Russia investigates circus after elephants ‘fight’ during performance

Togni Family performs with elephants in a Circo Togni show at the Bolshoi St Petersburg State Circus in Russia, photo: Alexander Demianchuk/TASS
Togni Family performs with elephants in a Circo Togni show at the Bolshoi St Petersburg State Circus in Russia, photo: Alexander Demianchuk/TASS

Russian authorities started an investigation on Monday into the Kazan circus after two elephants started what looked like fighting during a show. The elephants landed in an area where there were visitors.

Incidents of animals becoming violent are relatively common at Russian circuses, which have made animal welfare organisations concerned about the way the animals are treated. The use of wild animals in circuses is still allowed in Russia.

Video footage showed the female elephant Jenny pushing over the female elephant Magda, while they were performing at the circus on Sunday in the city of Kazan. Magda fell towards the crowd.

On social media, it was said that one of the elephants fell because she was exhausted and lost her balance, but the Kazan circus said “the audience had witnessed a quarrel between Indian elephants Jenny and Magda” in a statement.

“After years of exploitation, Jenny took on Magda on the Kazan Circus track in Russia. What do you expect from a world where elephants are snatched from their families, kept under permanent domination, and made mad,” the animal welfare group One Voice said in a Facebook post.

The circus put all the blame on the elephants: “For all the peacefulness of elephants, they do have different moods, especially in the spring.” They did not address what keeping animals in captivity and forcing them to do tricks, does to them.

They even added that the elephants were jealous: “It’s possible that as they sought the attention of the trainer, there was a manifestation of jealous love.”


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