Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Use of abused elephant in movie criticized by ADI and NSPCA

Posted: 9 October 2014. Updated: 9 October 2014


ADI and the NSPCA have condemned ‘The 100-Year-old Man’ movie - directed by Felix Herngren and released across South Africa on October 17th - for its use of an abused circus elephant called Vana Mana, who previously featured in a shocking undercover exposé by ADI at the Great British Circus in the UK.

Vana Mana (also known as Wana Mana) and her companions Sonja and Delhi were beaten by both her trainer and groom and chained for long periods. ADI’s horrifying footage prompted an outcry and the elephants and their trainer left the UK after just one season. Delhi, who was chronically lame, has since died. Vana Mana and Sonja remain with their abusive trainer, Lars Hölscher, touring with circuses across Europe. Their trainer now uses different names for himself and the elephants.

Despite legislative measures being taken by 27 countries around the world to prohibit such acts, the use of wild animals in circuses is still permitted nationwide in South Africa, where footage filmed by a member of public showing two circus elephants being beaten and chained led the NSPCA to bring criminal charges against the owners and handlers of the Brian Boswell circus. The case is still being investigated by the South African Police Services and a trial date is yet to be set.

Elephants do not just suffer in the circuses in South Africa. The horrific cruelty used to ‘break’ wild-caught elephants was exposed by the NSPCA after they received footage of individuals to be used for elephant-back safaris being beaten, stretched with ropes, chained and abused with electric prods and bull hooks. The footage was filmed in 2008 at Elephants of Eden, a sister company to the Knysna Elephant Park and the NSPCA has laid animal cruelty charges against the park owners and are awaiting a trial date.

‘The 100-Year-old Man’ bills itself as a comedy, but there is nothing funny about the shocking abuse of the poor elephant who features in it and other wild animals that suffer in the name of entertainment

Take action!

  • Avoid The 100 Year Old Man and other movies which feature performing animals
  • Boycott circuses that use wild animals
  • Refuse to ride elephants

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