Meet the Animals
- Elephants are sensitive and intelligent animals.
They can remember the location of a waterhole for 20 years! Elephants visibly
grieve over the loss of family members. They live in matriarchal groups and
form complex social bonds. In the wild they can live up to 70 years and may
roam up to 30 miles per day foraging for food and water.
- Lions are the
only big cats that are social rather than solitary. They live in groups called
"prides", which can vary from 4-30 individuals. Prides are typically made up
of related adult females and their offspring. The lionesses do most of the
hunting; females and the young eat first, then males. Lion cubs are very small
at birth and are entirely dependent on their mother for food until they are
about 6 months old. Female lions raise their young together and will nurse
cubs other than their own.
- Tigers are the largest species of the cat family.
With the exception of a mother tiger rearing her young, tigers are solitary
animals that hunt at night. Tigers' eyes have a special design that makes
their night vision six times better than that of humans! Unlike a typical
house cat, they are good swimmers and enjoy bathing, especially in hot
weather, which they seem to dislike. Tiger stripes are like human
fingerprints: no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes.
- Bears are shy, wild animals, who prefer quietly foraging in their
forest homes far away from people. Bears share a form of communication that
they use with each other to signal their emotions. Bear cubs, in particular,
like to make their feelings known and will cry when in distress, whine when
approaching their mother, and hum when they are nursing or content. Like human
babies, bear cubs need their mother's love, nourishment and protection in
order to survive. A bear cub will stay with its mother for a few years before
setting off to make a life of its own. Many bears live in cold climates and
spend the bitter winter months hibernating. During this period of hibernation
bears do not eat, drink or go to the bathroom!
When wild animals are forced to live and perform in
traveling circuses and shows, they are not allowed to express their natural
behaviors and they are deprived of social bonds and their native environment.
Due to the stress of living in unnatural conditions, many animals exhibit
suffering through what are known as stereotypic behaviors. For example, circus
elephants sway and bob their heads, large cats pace continually, and bears have
been known to beat their heads against their cages repeatedly. Clearly, the life
of a circus animal is not as exciting as the circus industry would like us to
Circus Animal Facts
- Circus animals are forced to endure an unnatural
and painful existence. Many were taken from the wild; others have been bred in
captivity; all have been removed from even a semblance of their natural
- As part of a traveling menagerie, it is often
necessary to separate socially bonded animals, like mothers and their babies,
and unnaturally pair up animals that are typically solitary in nature. Exposed
to constant noise, travel, prolonged restraint, and rigorous training
techniques until they are either too sick or too old to perform these animals
suffer both physically and psychologically.
- Training regimens can be extremely severe. Since
bears don't naturally ride bicycles and an elephant would panic if a tiger
jumped on its back, trainers often employ brutal methods to compel the animals
to override their natural behaviors, fears and instincts. Beatings, food and
water deprivation, and electric shocks are used to force these suffering
creatures into submission.
- Circus animals spend the majority of their lives on
the road, working up to 50 weeks out of a year in appalling conditions. During
transport from one city to the next, which can take several agonizing days,
the animals are chained or crammed into cages that are too small, lack fresh
air and an adequate water supply, and are surrounded by their own excrement.