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– This has to stop !

mars 16, 2013

– This has to stop! Make a diagnosis and start the treatment immediately. One does not need to be an expert on elephants to see that Baba is broken in spirit and mind. She suffers mentally. The best treatment is to stop the terrible domination by humans that she lives under. She should be taken out circus and come to a resting place for elephants, says Dr. Gay Bradshaw. She is a forefront figure in international research into elephant psychology and behavior.

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– We are into a whole new way of thinking in relationship to the animals. A shift of paradigm. It is no longer necessary to appeal just to emotions to win sympathy for their cause. Science tells everything. Many still cling to the old view that there is a fundamental difference between us and animals. The facts of science breaks down this distinction. The animals are our equal and entitled to the same rights. The elephants with his high intelligence, his specter of emotions and advanced social life is a door opener in this work, says Gay Bradshaw. Besides elephants she has worked specifically with parrots, who also breaks new ground for science.

Gay Bradshaw in her work combines neuroscience, psychology and animal behavior and pioneers an entirely new branch of research called «trans-species psychology», that is psychology across species (humans included). Studying wild elephants in Africa she discovered that elephants like people can be victims of traumas of the past and exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She and co-authors Alan N. Shore, Joyce Poole, Janine L. Brown and Cynthia J. Moss published the discovery in an article in Nature, 2005 titled «Elephant Breakdown».

Bradshaw is the director of the Kerulos Center, a nonprofit organization who “translate knowledge of animals as fully sentient beings into animal care, conservation, and human cultural transformation”. Its motto is «knowledge is only meaningful when combined with action» (Goethe). Bradshaw has written several books. The latest is titled “Elephants on the Edge”. Here she explores the minds, emotions, and lives of elephants and what they can learn us about being human. The New York Book Review called it “ a remarkable study of elephant–human interactions”.

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– I sincerely ask you to listen to Dame Daphne Sheldrick. I know no other person who knows so much about elephants, says Gay Bradshaw. Dame Daphne earlier said to “The World of Baba” that the training of circus elephants is brutal in the extreme and that the stereotypic behavior of elephants in captivity indicates psychosis. Dr. Marion E. Garaï, an expert on elephant behavior, commented on videos of Baba published by the blog and said that her behavior is a last way to avoid madness. Please read the full statement by Dame Daphne Sheldrick sent to «The World of Baba» and the original e-mail from Marion E. Garaï.

– Baba’s tragic story has the potential of becoming a symbolic case beyond Norway.

– Baba’s tragic story has the potential of becoming a symbolic case beyond Norway in the struggle to ban the use of elephants and other wild animals in circus, says Gay Bradshaw. She is concerned with the fact that Baba is the only elephant in her circus and is not buying the explanation given by the owner/trainer, that Baba does not accept the company of other elephants. – I doubt that very much. It is possible that Baba enjoys the company of a horse, but this argument is ridiculous. A highly social animal like the elephant is thrilled in the company of other elephants. If that is not the case, something special must have happened to Baba. I would not be surprised if she for example has been subject to forced breeding. That leaves deep traces in the mind.

– Honestly I also feel sorry for Adriana.

Gay Bradshaw also warns against being fooled by the description of the relationship between Baba and her owner/trainer Adriana Folco Althoff given by the circus. Their interaction in the ring is characterized by luminous love between them, says the circus program.
– Baba may be fond of Adrania, but in her own way. Hostages or prisoners can develop empathy with the people who keeps them in captivity. This is a well known psychological phenomenon known as the Stockholm syndrome. Honestly I also feel sorry for Adriana. Having lived with Baba for such a long time they must have developed a close relationship and Adriana maybe tries to treat her gently when they perform. However, other forces than human emotions run the circus trade, says Bradshaw.

Text : Inge Sellevag

Related stories:
– We are glad to help Baba.
– The training of circus elephants is brutal in the extreme.
– She is frustrated, bored and sad.
A brief history of Baba.

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