Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Help us save Karla

Posted: 22 March 2007


Sad Karla, alone and beaten…

ADI Field Officers working undercover in an animal circus witnessed some of the most sickening scenes they have ever encountered when a female chimpanzee, called Karla, was punched in the face and beaten with a chain by her trainer.

The footage is part of a major undercover investigation by ADI of animal circuses in Colombia. An ADI Field Officer working at Circo Africa de Fieras also filmed a llama and pony being abused at the same circus.

The tragic plight of Karla the lonely chimpanzee with Circo Africa de Fieras symbolises the plight of animals suffering in the name of public entertainment.


Travelling with the circus, she was kept isolated and alone from any of her kind – a torture in itself for this intelligent and sociable species. But worse was to come for poor Karla. She was punched in the face by her trainer, hit, and even beaten with chain. During the attacks Karla screamed, fled and desperately tried to shield her face from the blows. In her forties, Karla would be considerably stronger than her tormentor, but like other circus animals, she has been beaten into submission. Instead of fighting back she simply screamed, tried to flee, cowered, and held her arms over her head to prevent the blows raining down on her.

ADI initiated legal action against the circus to stop the physical abuse of the animals filmed by our Field Officers. Since this, Karla has been discarded by the circus and ADI are desperately trying to secure her freedom.

ADI are launching a worldwide appeal to save Karla and place her in an appropriate sanctuary.

Previously, ADI rescued a chimpanzee called Toto from Circo Konig in Chile – he had been trapped in Africa, sold to a circus, lived a solitary existence in a packing crate for over twenty years, and forced to smoke cigarettes.

An ADI operation took Toto all the way back to Africa, where he was re-united with his own kind and now lives in 14 acres of African bush with 8 other chimpanzees at the world-renowned Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage.

With public support ADI hope to do the same for poor Karla.

Jan Creamer, ADI Chief Executive: “The images of Karla being punched and beaten and her sheer terror are haunting. We have to rescue this poor chimpanzee. We have saved other animals and we know that we can do the same for Karla. But these operations are expensive. In February we took two lions and a tiger from a Portuguese circus to our Rescue Centre in South Africa. That was a huge operation, so we desperately need to raise funds to help Karla.”

Please send a donation to ADI to help pay for legal fees, veterinary costs, temporary accommodation for Karla and transportation to take her to freedom.

Donate to help fund our legal action and to rescue Karla

Suffering in Colombia circuses exposed by ADI investigators

Karla face to face – gallery of images

How Toto the chimp was rescued by ADI from a circus in Chile

Find out about our global Stop Circus Suffering campaign

© Animal Defenders International 2019