An elephant branded the ‘real-life Dumbo’ who was forced to dance for tourists in Thailandhas died, an animal charity has said.
The elephant hit headlines earlier this year when charity Moving Animals shared shocking footage of the emaciated animal being made to dance to rave music and ‘play’ musical instruments at Phuket’s Zoo in Thailand.
The charity launched a petition to rescue the elephant and place him in a nearby animal sanctuary, the petition quickly gained traction and have more than 200,000 signatures.
Sadly, Moving Animals has now revealed that the elephant’s back legs became so weak they snapped, and he died a week later.
Amy Jones, co-founder of Moving Animals, said: “This is a tragic and horrific end to Dumbo’s heartbreakingly-short life.
“His skeletal body clearly suggested that he was unwell and could be suffering from malnourishment and exhaustion. And yet the zoo did nothing until receiving international criticism.
“Under their care, this baby elephant broke both of his back legs, and the zoo did not even realise for three days. I can’t bring myself to imagine Dumbo’s suffering during this time.
“For Dumbo to die whilst under the so-called ‘care’ and ‘treatment’ of the zoo shows just how neglected these animals are in captivity.
“We hope that Dumbo is now finding the peace that he was so cruelly denied in his life, and that his tragic story will urge Thai authorities to finally put an end to these outdated animal performances.”
The vet who treated the elephant told The Phuket News: “It was the worst.”
Explaining that he became injured following a ‘horrible accident’ after his ‘front legs became stuck in some mud while he was holding himself up with his back legs on dry ground’.
She continued: “First, he tried to lift himself out with his back right leg, but the bone was too thin and too brittle, and the stress on it caused it to break.
“So, he tried to push himself out of the mud with his back left leg, and that broke, too.”
Staff at the zoo managed to get him out of the mud, but they didn’t know his legs were broken. He was treated by the zoo’s vet before eventually being taken to hospital.
When he arrived, the vet says, he was ‘very weak’ – it was then they discovered his back legs were broken and began treatment, but three days later he was dead.
The charity explains that as the zoo didn’t break any laws in the country, it is free to acquire another baby elephant, if the bosses wanted to.
Zoo manager Mr Pichai told The Phuket News that he was ‘deeply saddened’ by the elephant’s death.
He told the paper: “Nobody wants to lose something they love. We did the best we could do to protect him.”