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Captive Elephant Doc to Expose Circuses

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Beginning in Sarasota, and perhaps coming soon to a theater or streaming device near you, is a harrowing tale of yet another animal’s captivity, one forced to entertain only to lash out in tragic, desperate fashion.

Tyke Elephant Outlaw is the new documentary that follows Tyke, the circus elephant who made headlines when going on a deadly rampage in Hawaii in 1994. The film last week received its world premiere at the Sarasota Film Fest in Florida, just over two years after Blackfish made its debut at Sundance, shining a light on orcas in captivity while following the struggle of the killer whale Tilikum.

Goals are already loftily set, with the hopes Tyke will do to circuses what Blackfish has done to marine parks (which is getting close to total destruction). Like Tilikum, Tyke in a fit of rage killed a trainer. Where the stories diverge, however, is when Tyke broke free of the arena that fateful summer day in ’94, going on a rampage for 30 minutes before the police took her down and killed her in a barrage of bullets.

The film talks to former trainers, handlers, activists and those within the circus industry, as well as those who bore witness to the carnage.

Directed and produced by Stefan Moore and Susan Lambert, Tyke has a fictional counterpart. “Like the classic animal rebellion film King Kong, Tyke is the central protagonist in a tragic but redemptive drama that combines trauma, outrage, insight and compassion,” reads the film’s website. “Ultimately, this moving documentary raises fundamental questions about our deep and mysterious connection to other species.”

For more information on the documentary, check out the film’s website here. You can view the trailer below.

Photo courtesy PETA

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  • Charlie Domino

    21 years ago??? If that’s how far back you have to go for a sensationalized story, I’d say elephants are doing just fine in captivity.

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