Whilst documenting the animals confined to Phuket Zoo in Thailand, we met a skeletal baby elephant who was forced to “rave” to music, “play” musical instruments, and perform tricks, all for tourists’ entertainment. We watched as tourists laughed and took selfies, all while this emaciated baby elephant stood with his eyes closed, quietly sucking on his trunk.

We were so moved by his plight, that we nicknamed him “Dumbo” and started a petition asking for him to be retired to a nearby sanctuary. His story went viral and over 200,000 compassionate people from around the world demanded that the zoo release him to a sanctuary where he could feel happiness and peace.

But in a tragic turn of events, “Dumbo” passed away after his back legs snapped beneath him. Phuket Zoo did not realise that his legs were broken for three days.

After public pressure forced the zoo to seek veterinary treatment for “Dumbo”, it was revealed that he had been suffering from a digestive tract infection for months, which gave him constant diarrhoea and made him incredibly weak.

Whilst under the so-called “care” and “treatment” of Phuket Zoo, “Dumbo” got stuck in a puddle of mud. He was so weak, that his back legs snapped beneath him as he tried to free himself. The zoo did not even realise his legs were broken for three days. Finally, the baby elephant was taken to an elephant hospital. He died just three days later.

For “Dumbo” to die whilst under the so-called “care” and “treatment” of the zoo shows just how neglected these animals are in captivity. And so, to send the message that cruel wildlife attractions, like elephant shows, will not be tolerated, we’re calling for Phuket Zoo to be closed down immediately. Will you join us?

We hope that “Dumbo” is now finding the peace that he was so cruelly denied in his lifetime, and that his tragic story will help to stop others from suffering the same fate.

Rest in Peace, “Dumbo”.

Photo 1 - Dumbo sucking trunk 1.jpg

Timeline of “Dumbo’s” Plight

  • 2 April 2019: Petition launched with Care2. Sign here.

  • 8 April 2019: “Dumbo’s” story goes international with press coverage around the world.

  • 9 April 2019: Officials from Phuket’s Livestock Department order Phuket Zoo to stop making “Dumbo” perform in tourist shows until his health has recovered.

  • 18 April 2019: 200,000 people speak out for “Dumbo”.

  • 17 May 2019: It’s with a heavy heart that we announce “Dumbo” has passed away. His tragic death sparks outrage in media outlets worldwide.

  • 22 May 2019: To send the message that cruel wildlife attractions, like elephant shows, will not be tolerated, we call for Phuket Zoo to be closed down immediately. Sign the petition.

How “Dumbo’s” Story Moved the World:

The Independent, Mail Online, Mirror, The Sun, Express, Metro, UNILAD, LADbible, Plant Based News, People, New York Post, Complex, Fox 10, Diply, The Epoch Times, Thai Visa News, The Nation, Phuket Xtra, The Phuket News,The Thaiger, News.com/au, Herald Sun, Afton Bladet, Niews Blad, la Repubblica, laSexta, Metro Belgique, MAGG,  Cairns Post, New Zealand Herald, Latestly, NTD, 7 News, World of Buzz, India Times, Stuff, Vietnam Express, Leggo, McGill Media, MSN Italy, Newsner, Refresher, Interez, Corriere Adriatico.it, Il Mattino.it, Nettavisen.no, Yahoo India, Intriper, Vegazeta.br, Le Parisien, La Voix Du Nord, Gizmodo, SPD Noticias, Vanguardia, Sinembargo.mx, El Pais, Diario de Morelos, El Tiempo, Vice, Pretty 52, Metro Nieuws, Noticias Caracol, Noizz, Brut., NextShark, 环球透视 Global Watch TV, One Green Planet.

Please help us to continue our work for animals like “Dumbo”. Your support will help us to continue documenting the stories of those that are usually forced to stay silent.