During the 20 years of captivity, torture and ill-treatment, Tyke the elephant escaped 3 times and was only free on the third time, but the price was too high. Watching Tyke slowly fall, his red eyes filled with fear and despair, everyone felt haunted.
In Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, just mention the two words “elephant Tyke” to people who lived in the 1990s and you will get a shake of your head with the story of an extremely dark time in history. history here.
Tyke’s Elephant’s Life Doesn’t Know Freedom
Tyke was originally an African female elephant, she came to this world in 1974 in Mozambique and was taken from her family to put in the circus at a very young age. Here, Tyke spent his days in prison being tormented both physically and mentally. Every day he has to practice for 2 hours to serve the performance, for the remaining 22 hours, Tyke is locked in a closed room, chained completely, can only stand still, cannot move. body that only the trunk can reach outside the bars.
Tyke and his close trainer, who rarely beats him.
The room had a small gap where Tyke could only reach the hose out.
The people working in the circus often torture the poor elephant continuously to destroy the spirit, the natural instinct, making Tyke completely obey the human command. They tortured the poor animal with a metal hook, hitting Tyke in the most sensitive places on his body: behind his ears, on his big toe, behind his knees and around his anus. Humans want to hurt and threaten, forcing Tyke to obey completely and have no intention of resisting.
So from a free elephant, belonging to the wild, Tyke was suddenly named and rewritten his fate by the hands of the people in the circus. Instead of being roamed around in the grasslands, it suffered a life of imprisonment, surrounded by four dark walls, damp, dirty, poor diet, lack of nutrition.
The Hawthorne Circus where Tyke was imprisoned has long been known for his history of animal abuse. And during 20 years of torture, forced to practice, perform, this elephant was too tired, everything seemed too much to bear, so it found a way to free herself.
Every day, it is chained for 22 hours, the remaining 2 hours must be trained to obey human commands.
On April 21, 1993, Tyke ran out of a circus while performing in Altoona, Pennsylvania. On the way to escape, it attacked a coach of the circus troupe, and it was not until an hour later that it was recaptured. The first escape failed. On July 23, 1993, only about 3 months later, Tyke ran away again while performing in Minot City, North Dakota. This time, it injured an animal trainer and caused a panic among the people for 25 minutes. According to recorded documents, the trainer beat the poor animal very cruelly, right in front of the audience. The torture was so painful that it screamed and fell to the ground to avoid the blow, even when the man left, Tyke was still screaming and walking backwards in fear.
The Hawthorne theater should have given the animal a rest, to recover because it was clearly a potential threat to everyone around. But they didn’t. God only knows what other punishments Tyke suffered after his escapes.
The last show – the show of freedom
In the end, whatever happens has to happen. Tyke has been imprisoned in the middle of hell for nearly 20 years, he doesn’t want to be beaten, tortured anymore, he wants to be free. On August 20, 1994, during its final performance at the Neal Blaidsell Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, the animal wrote its own ending.
At some point during the performance, Tyke was disobedient, not following the script from before. The staff tried to force him to obey, but now there was no iron hook, no whip could drown out the anger that had been suppressed in Tyke’s head for nearly 20 years. It got mad and attacked its trainer, Allen Campbell and 2 others. It killed the coach. The audience at first thought it was just a performance, but after realizing it, they panicked and ran out of the theater in fear.
The elephant attacks the trainer and kills him on stage. In addition, it also injured 13 other people while fleeing.
Tyke kicked open the barricade and stormed out into the street, he attacked and almost killed the circus publicist who was trying to block the way. Tyke rammed into passersby, destroyed cars, onlookers couldn’t stop screaming, eventually the police were called.
The scene where Tyke kicked the barricade, rushed out into the street and then was chased by police.
They continuously opened fire on the panicked and disoriented elephant. During the last 30 minutes of his life, Tyke was chased by police through the streets of Kakaʻako district during rush hour. Being shot repeatedly in the head and body, the elephant slowly fell down but only a moment later suddenly stood up. Its head wobbled, its legs bent, but it stood still. The police were still there, continuing to pull the trigger and point the gun at Tyke. Finally, it was cornered between two rows of cars parked on the street, and was shot 87 times in a row. The elephant then slowly slid down the road. Its eyes were wide, red with pain, fear, and despair. It died of brain hemorrhage, nerve damage, and wounds.
Red eyes filled with fear.
The last animal was shot 87 times and collapsed. Its death was a release, Tyke was free.
And that was the last performance of the elephant Tyke – the fateful performance of finding his own freedom. This time there was no more applause and cheers, but only the dry echo of guns, boos and screams in fear and anger of everyone.
After Tyke’s death, the incident was turned into a documentary called Tyke: Elephant Outlaw that shocked the world. Twenty-five years later, the memory of a female elephant being shot dead on the street in the presence of so many people is probably still vivid in the minds of people in Honolulu. For its part, the Hawthorne Circus continued to operate until October 2012, when it closed.
This is a brutal reality that still exists in many circuses today, although Tyke has become a symbol of tragedies in the circus industry and an icon of fighting for animal rights, but that is only in Hawaii, Outside of the big world, it’s a different story. People still pay to buy tickets to the circus and elephants like Tyke, other poor animals, they have to pay with their lives, with their inherent freedom to entertain people. Maybe we should rethink watching an animal circus, no matter what animal the “actor” is.