Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Rose-Tuís baby must not be handed to elephant abusers

Posted: 4 December 2012. Updated: 15 February 2013


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About this Story

A baby elephant born November 30, 2012 at Oregon Zoo could face a lifetime of misery at the hands of circus and movie animal trainers Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT).

Animal Defenders International (ADI) has released video evidence of the company who appears to have the rights to Rose-Tuís baby, Have Trunk Will Travel, beating their elephants with bullhooks and shocking them with stun guns. ADI is sending a message to Kim Smith, ex-officio Director at the Oregon Zoo, calling on the zoo to rescind this agreement.

Oregon Zoo say they plan to keep the calf, but under a deal with HTWT in 2005 the second, fourth and sixth offspring of zoo-owned mother Rose-Tu and HTWT-owned father Tusko are legally owned by HTWT.

A portion of the video can be viewed here

The footage shows:

  • Elephants cry out when being electric shocked into performing a headstand
  • Elephants are beaten about the body and legs with bull hooks
  • A baby elephant is hooked in the lip and cries out

Jan Creamer, President of Animal Defenders International (ADI): ďADI has released recordings of training of elephants at Have Trunk Will Travel in Perris, CA, where the animals were hit with bullhooks and electric shocked with stun guns by the owners, Gary and Kari Johnson, and their trainers. The video includes a vicious hit on the head and hooking in the mouth of baby elephant Tucker. The Johnsons, who have insisted that they stand by their training methods, own the elephant Tusko, and have a contractual agreement to Rose-Tu’s baby. We are appalled at the prospect of Rose-Tu’s baby being handed over to Have Trunk Will Travel, considering the abuse seen on our video, and call upon the Oregon Zoo to rescind the agreement, in light of the evidence we have provided.Ē

ďI urge the Oregon Zoo to withdraw from their agreement with Have Trunk Will Travel, in consideration of the video evidence of their abuse of their elephants,Ē said legendary television host and animal activist Bob Barker who has worked with ADI on other animal related issues.

The video was shot by an ADI investigator working for HTWT, who documented the routine abuse of elephants at Have Trunk Will Travelís Perris California compound. In the video, elephants are repeatedly given electric shocks with hand held stun guns and beaten about the head and body with bullhooks during training. Gary and Kari Johnson, owners of Have Trunk Will Travel, have insisted that they stand by their training methods. Tusko was not present at Have Trunk Will Travel at the time of the ADI investigation, he had been moved to the OR Zoo just before the investigation began. The baby elephant seen on the video is Tucker.

What You Can Do:

Please contact Oregon Zoo and politely urge them not to hand over the calf to HTWT Ė tell them to look at our video Ė email them today at

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