Circus Elephant News

Once again, the TEAPSPA Bill (Traveling Exotic Animal Public Safety Protection Act) has been reintroduced to Congress as HR5999 and S3220. Passing this bill would ban the use of wild animals in circuses and traveling shows.

PLEASE call the offices of the representative and senators in your state to ask them to co-sponsor this important bill. Here are the reasons why it’s critical that we voice our opinions:

How Circus Elephants Beaulah and Karen Died – Excerpts from The Nonhuman Rights Project – Feb. 24 2020

“We at the Nonhuman Rights Project are sickened to have learned that our elephant client, Beulah, died as a result of blood poisoning caused by a uterine infection the Commerford Zoo was aware she had when they forced her to travel in a trailer from Connecticut to Massachusetts to be exhibited for their financial gain at the Big E Fair. Blood poisoning, also known as septicemia, causes intense suffering, no matter your species. Beulah’s final hours—documented in photos of her lying on her side in a parking lot the day she died—marked a horrific end to an equally horrific life. ….

We have also learned that our elephant client, Karen, died of kidney disease at 38 years old. Karen had been receiving what the USDA considers “appropriate care” at the time of her death. While much remains unknown about how long Karen had been sick, of if she was suffering from other ailments when she died, we know she died at a much earlier age than elephants typically do. We also know “appropriate care” is meaningless if you remain a prisoner subjected to forced labor. We’d like to extend our deepest thanks to Senator Blumenthal—a longtime champion for animal protection and co-sponsor of the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act—for his help in getting answers about Beulah and

Karen’s deaths and the USDA’s oversight of the Commerford Zoo….

Both Beulah’s and Karen’s lives and deaths were tragedies. They were avoidable tragedies. The Commerford Zoo chose to deny Beulah and Karen the opportunity to heal, thrive, and regain their dignity in a sanctuary, claiming it was for the elephants’ own good while the USDA looked the other way. We’ll keep fighting in and our of court for Minnie, the sole surviving Commeford elephant, to not suffer the same fate.”

Circus Elephant “BO” Finally Taken to a Sanctuary – But Without his Traveling Mate “BETTY”

We were happy to hear that Bo, a 34-year-old male circus elephant has become the first resident of Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) in Georgia. Bo was one of the elephants traveling through our state of Arizona (when we lived there) with the Garden Bros. Circus. We held protests against the circus while it was performing in our town for three years in a row and witnessed Bo and Betty displaying stereotypic (repetitive rocking and swaying) behavior and being chained for several hours in a small pen. We saw the dilapidated trucks with no windows or air conditioning where Bo and Betty traveled throughout the Southwest in severe heat conditions.

Read Bo’s history written by CompassionWorks Intl., whose mission is to empower individuals to take action for animals in their own communities. Visit to learn about Betty and other elephants in circuses and how you can help get them to a sanctuary.

“Bo was born at Busch Gardens in Tamps and is presently 34 years old. He was torn away from his family at less than one year old and sent to California for training under the notorious animal abuser Gary Johnson. In the wild, male Asian elephants remain with their mothers until age 16.

What we then can’s see during that period is the brutal training methods that would have been used to train Bo to perform stupid circus tricks. Those methods involve pain, fear, ropes, chains, bullhooks, tasers and other instruments designed to terrorize the animal. Bo would have been roped down and tortured.

He would have screamed for his mother out of fear and pain. After four miserable years of training he was sold to the Carden family which owns a circus at 5 years old.

The Carden family knew a moneymaker when they saw one. Performing males are not the norm. They tend to be ill-tempered and not suited to performance. But Bo was a beauty and stood out from the crowd to due to his size and grand tusks.

For a number of years, Bo was leased to Ringling Bros. by Carden. In 2001, during their 131st tour, Bo was the star of the show. The show was titled “Bo and Bello” and Bo was featured in all of their advertising and in their toys. Bo was billed as “World’s Smartest Elephant” and was noted to be able to respond to more than 60 cues which prompted various tricks. In 2005, Larry Carden signed Bo on to headline Ringling’s red unit (the largest unit) where he performed for a number of years. 2013 saw the beginning of CWI’s founders’ work against circus cruelty and the first glimmers of what would become CompassionWorks International. We captured video of Bo chained and forced to perform with UniverSoul in Florida.

In 2013 Bo was still being leased to the UniverSoul Circus. During one show Bo decided he’d had enough of being bullied and refused to leave the circus ring. Larry Carden proceeded to use the bullhook on Bo to force him to move and was captured inserting the hook into his mouth. That same year, Carden realized he had a new enemy and began to attack CWI’s work after we started creating graphics and videos revealing the truth of his animal-abusing money-making

Bo and his companion Betty stayed with UniverSoul through 2018 when abruptly—and after years of protests—UniverSoul unceremoniously quit using elephants and tigers in their act. Sadly, that was not the end of the line for Betty and Bo. They were leased to Garden Bros. Circus in 2019, which is when we began capturing video after video of Bo exhibiting stereotypic behavior. Stereotypic behavior—repetitive movement like rocking, swaying or pacing—is indicative of mental or emotional distress. In April 2019 CWI filed a USDA complaint for Bo after we captured video evidence of Bo forced to remain under a tarp chained by his leg on an asphalt parking lot.

Despite having been told by an insider that Bo had begun “misbehaving” and was pulled from performance, the USDA continued to do nothing to help Bo—who by this point was being dragged around the country only to stand alone in chains.

And here we are in 2021. Bo was forced back out on the road only to once again suffer. It is obvious to anyone who spends a bit of time looking at his life and trajectory that Bo is in extreme distress at this point and is a danger to himself and others. He is no longer the “All-American” or the great performer who can dazzle with a wide array of tricks. He’s a sad animal, emotionally disturbed, who deserves a life in sanctuary far away from bullhooks and circus life.”

Such was the life of Bo, who, on September 23, 2021, was finally taken to the ERNA Sanctuary in Georgia. You can see Bo’s new home on youtube and on the elecam at the Elephant Refuge North America website.

We can only hope that the rest of the circus elephants traveling the country will have the same fortunate outcome as Bo. Visit to find out how you can help make it happen.




MARCH 5, 2019

Another try for Kingman Circus Ban Ordinance

With Garden Bros. Circus scheduled for another performance, the new mayor of Kingman, Arizona, put forth to the city council another ordinance to ban the use of exotic and wild animals in the circus.  Despite an impressive showing of supporters for an ordinance and persuasive speeches by 8 local animal advocates, and only 1 dissenter (fairgrounds manager), the mayor decided to “table” the issue for a later date, claiming she now wanted an alternative agreement to deny permits.

Kingman passed in 2017 a Resolution “Condemning the Use of Wild and Exotic Animals in Traveling Shows and Circuses,” but for some unexplained reason, the city deemed the Resolution insufficient in denying future circus permits. 

State legislators have now intervened and put a stop to any progress being made for circus animals in Arizona. 





Presented by The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)

Nov. 9-11, 2018 – Burbank, CA


Evolution of this conference is evident and appreciated by all attendees. We were blessed to share the expertise of many well-educated and consummate speakers chosen by PAWS which has been presenting such conferences since 1992. The event included over 40 speakers, 47 presentations, and 10 panel discussions. Major topics included multiple presenters and moderated discussions:

Day 1

Shocks, Surprises and Stupefaction: My Journey through the Zoo World

Confronting Captivity

Elephants and Tourism: A Pathway to an Elephant-Friendly Future

Elephants, Captivity, and Conservation

Male Elephant Society and the Importance of Being Social

Walking with Elephants: Changing the Elephant Tourism Industry

Saving Elephants: International Sanctuaries

Day 2

The Nonhuman Rights Project’s Struggle to Gain Legal Rights for Animals

The Struggle to Protect Captive Wildlife: Regulations, Legislation and Law

ZOOXXI Campaign for Reconversion Zoos

Elephants in Japan

Confronting the Captivity of Marine Mammals

Investigating the Thai Tiger Temple

Examining Captivity through Science

Day 3

Campaigns for Captive Wild Animals

Challenging the Captivity of Bears

Opposing the Exploitation of Big Cats

Captivity and Big Cats

Confronting Captivity through Education and Technology

JULY 2018


Over 195,000 signatures (one hundred and ninety-five thousand!) were gathered in a initiative to demand that Anna Louise, a circus elephant, be taken to a sanctuary to live out the rest of her life in the company of other elephants. Anna Louise was noticeably failing with health issues but continued to be used for rides and forced to do tricks. The petition was unfortunately ignored by Anna Louise’s owner and the USDA. CompassionWorks International, the creator of the petition, announced on July 24, 2018 that Anna Louise died suddenly at a roadside zoo called Two Tails Ranch (owned by a circus family) in Florida where elephants are forced to give rides.

Deemed “one of the loneliest elephants in the U.S.,” Anna Louise never had a single elephant companion with which to socialize—a crucial psychological need for elephants. Like most circus elephants still alive today, Anna Louise was captured and taken from her mother in Africa in 1988. Like all circus elephants, she was tortured and beaten into submission to learn tricks including carrying a tambourine with her trunk and “dance.” During her life of captivity, she performed for Shrine circuses, Garden Bros. Circus and many others.

African elephants can live into their 70’s, but due to her stressful life, Anna Louise only lived to the age of 35. The cause of her death was reported to be from an aneurism, but the truth will probably never be known.

Today circus elephants spend most of their lives in cages and shackles and are usually forced to eat, sleep and defecate in the same space. In the 3 years that we have been advocating against the use of wild and exotic animals in circuses, we have personally witnessed the substandard care received by circus animals. We have seen the dilapidated trucks with no air conditioning, the dark and dank interior of the trucks in which the animals spend their lives traveling from city to city, state to state, for up to 8 months of every year. We have witnessed the elephants, most of whom are approaching 50 years old, walk with pain from arthritis and have witnessed elephants so mentally ill that they can barely perform their tricks and have to “stand alone” in the ring while the other elephant performs a particularly difficult trick. We have witnessed the horses that do not receive proper care of their hooves and are forced to give rides while lame. We have witnessed the trainers jab the elephants in the mouth and all over their sensitive skin with a bull hook before, during and after performances.

All circus animals deserve to live out the remainder of their lives in a sanctuary rather than die from neglect and abuse like Anna Louise. We need to realize as a society that circuses using animals are an archaic and barbaric form of entertainment that needs to come to an end. We need animal-free circuses. PLEASE BOYCOTT THE CIRCUS!!

APRIL 2018

Arizonans for Wildlife Campaign Suspended

Unfortunately, for Arizona residents who had hoped to stop the indiscriminate and inhumane killing of bobcats and mountain lions and to protect the other wild cats of Arizona (jaguar, lynx and ocelot), the campaign financed by the Humane Society of the United States was suspended with less than three months left to gather signatures. Kitty Block, Acting President of the HSUS, said that efforts to gather the minimum 150,642 valid signatures by July 5th had been impacted by some new Arizona laws governing the circulation of initiative petitions and requiring “strict compliance” with every technical aspect of state election laws. Those laws, she said, made signature gathering more difficult. Ms. Block also said there are also “national issues that currently demand our attention.” Our fellow volunteers were saddened at this decision, as we were making much progress and had received tremendous support from thousands of Arizonans who eagerly signed our petitions.

MARCH 2018

Animal-Free Circus

On March 30th, Kingman, Arizona, hosted a 4-day animal-free circus! A heartfelt “THANK YOU” to Kingman from all those who made this happen and from all wild animal lovers and animal welfare advocates in the country. The circus “Cirque Legacy” featured amazing acrobatics, flying trapeze artists and skits by clowns that were enjoyed by the children. Audience participation and enthusiasm was exceptional at this modern contemporary circus. According to the Kingman Daily Miner, “Cirque Legacy reaches out to all generations through its deep tradition of family circuses and is especially aimed at the younger generation. Daniel Perez, co-creator and Artistic Director, was born in Cuba and graduated from the National Circus School in Havana in 1988. He’s a specialist in Russian acrobatics on the pole and swings. Frank Diaz, co-creator and Artistic Coordinator, was also born in Cuba and has performed as an acrobat, hand balance and trapeze artist since 1994.” He and his son, Derek, 13 years old, performed daring balancing acts that stunned the audience. The City of Kingman adopted a Resolution in October 2017 that stated the city “determined that the abuse inherent in the use of wild and exotic animals in traveling shows and circuses is detrimental to the animals themselves and to the viewing citizens of our community.” The Resolution also “determined that circus animals used in circuses are often mistreated by the use of bull hooks and whips when learning to perform tricks, are deprived of food and water to control bodily emissions during performances, are shackled with tire chains making normal movements impossible, are transported over long distances in uncomfortable trucks, and are deprived of normal socialization with other animals.” The Kingman City Council resolved “to affirm as matters of principle the values of the ethical and humane treatment of all animals; and to establish by example and leadership the city’s commitment to these principles.” Passed and Adopted October 17, 2017


WRATH Rally in Las Vegas

WRATH Rally in Las Vegas

Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH)

On February 3, 2018, the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting held an
Impressive 32-city showing across 16 states. In addition six countries participated in WRATH’s third annual event.

The main protest took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Safari Club International’s annual trophy hunting meeting where hundreds of animals from around the world are auctioned off to be killed for trophies.

Protests were also held at The White House, The Capitol, The Supreme Court, and New York City’s Union Station. Other countries holding protests were Adelaide and Brisbane, Australia; Birmingham, England; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Ottawa; Canada; Zimbabwe, Africa; and Ireland.

WRATH (formerly The Worldwide Rally for Cecil) is sponsored by CompassionWorks International. Visit if you would like to be a part of the effort to stop trophy hunting.


Initiative to Protect Arizona’s Wild Cats

Please join Arizonans for Wildlife in their campaign to collect enough signatures to place a measure on the 2018 ballot in November to protect mountain lions, bobcats, jaguars, ocelots and lynx from extreme cruelty by prohibiting trophy hunting and trapping. LET’S ALLOW THE CITIZENS OF ARIZONA TO VOTE ON THIS MEASURE in November.

Every year thousands of mountain lions and bobcats are killed in Arizona by some of the cruelest methods imaginable. Bobcats are trapped and left to languish in excruciating pain for hours using painful and indiscriminate steel-jawed, leghold traps. If a trophy hunter or trapper kills a mother wild cat, her dependent kittens will die from dehydration, starvation, predation or exposure.

Mountain lions and bobcats are chased down with packs of trailing hounds then shot at point blank range. Jaguars, ocelots, and lynx can fall victim to these cruel methods as well. By allowing this to continue, we are further jeopardizing their survival in Arizona.

If you are an Arizona resident, please sign this initiative now!

For more information, visit or call (602) 603-2141.

NEWS IN 2017

In addition to forming our company, Trees for Tigers Corporation, we have been active for two years in helping alleviate the suffering of animals in trophy hunting and circuses. We started by attending the “Worldwide Rally for Cecil” in 2016 in Las Vegas which was organized by CompassionWorks Intl. ( We again attended the rally in 2017 and plan to attend again in February 2018.

The Jordan World Shrine Circus comes to our area every year (Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City), and we have organized protests in Kingman and Lake Havasu City for two years. As you probably know, the trainers in the circuses and in other wild and exotic animal shows torture their animals to teach them to do tricks and force them to travel in small cages, boxcars and trucks for most of their lives, traveling day after day, week after week, month after month for up to 10 months per year. Many circus elephants are approaching 50 years old, having performed in the circus since they were 3 years of age.






On Nov. 9th, we organized a protest of the Jordan World Shrine Circus in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Jordan Productions has produced the circus here every year for over 20 years. They have numerous violations of abuse and neglect of their circus animals and lost their UDSA exhibitors license many years ago. Since then they have rented animals from other circus organizations who also have many USDA citations. This treatment of these magnificent creatures is unconscionable, and we look forward to the 

day all circuses using animals are gone.

This particular protest was a success, insofar as, the article published in the city paper was picked up by the Associated Press and sent to cities around the country: Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, Yuma, U.S. News & World Report, San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Times. 


On Nov. 7th we protested the Jordan World Shrine Circus in Kingman, AZ., and were accompanied by the directors and staff of Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in Valentine, AZ. ( as well as the director of CompassionWorksIntl (



On October 17, 2017, the Kingman City Council voted down the ordinance they had previously voted unanimously to draft. All who had worked so hard to make Kingman the first city in Arizona to enact an ordinance to ban the circus were devastated. “Welcome to politics” is what the city attorney later stated. In lieu of an ordinance, the city did sign a resolution in which they formally resolved that “circus animals used in circuses are often mistreated by use of bullhooks and whips when learning to perform tricks, are deprived of food and water to control bodily emissions during performances, and shackled with tire chains making normal movements impossible, are transported over long distances in uncomfortable trucks, and are deprived of normal socialization with other animals.”

We are continuing to try and educate the public about abuse of animals in the circus, and, hopefully, change the minds of the community.