“They are social animals and she has been alone for over 30 years,” comments Muriel Arnal, president of One Voice.

The association has been fighting since 2002 to get Samba out of the circus in which the elephant still performs.

After a hearing on May 26, we learned on Monday that the Marseille Court of Appeal had rejected the association's request putting forward a "particularly partisan certificate drawn up by a veterinarian" concerning Dr. Willem Schaftenaar.

"He is a retired veterinarian, eminent specialist in elephants and who works for a zoo", indignant the president of One voice, stressing that he is not an activist of the animal cause.

Waited at the refuge

The 32-year-old elephant was to join the refuge of Bussière-Galant, in Limousin, in which the association reserved a place for her.

Created by two former healers, the refuge is described as a retirement home for pachyderms.

It does not yet accept boarders and it is the only place of this type in Europe.

The association reports that the elephant was seen lying down, which is worrying because a pachyderm does not easily adopt this position.

These extremely sensitive legs would also suffer from knowing only parking lots and hard floors.

The court observed that all necessary circus authorizations were in order.

The association is considering ways to continue its fight for Samba.


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  • Aquitaine

  • Circus

  • Animal protection

  • Animals

  • Marseilles

  • elephant

  • Bordeaux