Jumbo the African elephant not abused, says SPCA

By Elizabeth Binning

The show will go on after two SPCA inspectors have ruled that Jumbo the elephant is in a good condition and being cared for by Circus Loritz.

The 35-year-old African elephant is one of the new additions to the circus which has just started its new two-year show "Out of Africa".

Before the big opening at Papakura's Bruce Pullman Park on Thursday night an angry member of the public started complaining after seeing Jumbo chained to a trailer.

Circus general manager Marie Gribben said the man - who was their with his wife and young son - was swearing and causing a big fuss in front of about 100 guests. Show organisers were forced to call the police to calm him down.

He was not arrested but this morning morning a number of complaints were made to the SPCA about Jumbo's care and wellbeing.

SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge said he sent two inspectors to the circus today to inspect Jumbo's conditions and found her to be well cared for.

Ms Gribben said she understood that not everyone was happy about animals being kept for entertainment purposes but Jumbo was a recent addition to the show and only had a small walkon role.

She said the circus had taken Jumbo on after her owner Tony Radcliffe - who has had her since she was five years old - decided to retire. Mr Radcliffe could not find any other zoos that were prepared to take the four-tonne elephant.

Ms Gribben said Jumbo was normally kept out in a grass enclosure during the day but had to be chained to her trailer when people started arriving in the evenings as per safety requirements.

It was a temporary measure as a new $250,000 trailer enclosure, complete with showers and a fold down side, was being built for her.

The Circus, which has a range of performers including eight of Kenya's top acrobats, will remain in Papakura until next weekend.

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