Tyke the Elephant
Tyke was a 20 year old female African bush elephant from Mozambique. She was with Circus International in Honolulu, Hawaii. And she is best known as the elephant who rebelled against her circus.
She was stolen from her family when she was just a baby and thrust into a life of torment and abuse for 2 decades. She was confined to a small concrete room, and beaten over and over again with a bullhook to break her spirits.
Tyke had tried to escape the circus a few times. Her first attempt was in April, 1993. She then made another attempt a few months later in July. However, both were unsuccessful and both of her warning signs - her built up rage was a sign that she was a threat to the public - were ignored.
Until finally on August 20, 1994, Tyke had enough. She entered the circus ring at Blaisdell Arena kicking around what looked like a dummy to the audience. “We thought it was part of the show.” One witness told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
However, everyone soon realized that the dummy was actually a severely injured groomer. As the audience fled for the exits, Tyke went on to attack and fatally crush her trainer who tried to intervene before fleeing the arena.
For nearly 30 minutes, Tyke ran through the streets of the Kakaako neighbourhood’s business district at rush hour. The circus promoter was also nearly trampled over when he tried to fence her in.
The confusion and fear were very clear and obvious in her eyes as she ran through the streets, crashing into cars and banging into buildings.
It was an intense foot chase between her and the Honolulu police, who eventually shot her nearly 100 times. It took almost 2 excruciating hours for her to pass on as she succumbed to nerve damage and brain haemorrhages. Tyke was left to die alone in the streets, afraid and in pain.
Ever since this tragic incident with Tyke, no elephant has performed with Circus International. And after activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals created a petition against the Moscow International Circus for performing in Honolulu with “wild animals”, a circus spokesman told Honolulu Star-Advertiser that animals will now be excluded from shows.
To do your part in putting an end to animal circuses, we urge you to avoid and stop supporting circuses that exploit animals, and instead, support circuses that do not use animals for entertainment. You can also support or volunteer with organizations that help fight for animal rights.