Four retired circus elephants destined for the scrapheap have been handed an unexpected olive branch by the Danish government.
But while they’re soon be getting a new home, following a tender process to choose the right zoo, the elephant in the room for many tax-payers is the amount the Ministry of the Environment and Food has agreed to pay the owners, Cirkus Arena and Cirkus Trapez.
The price for the four elephants (Rambolina, Lara, Djungla and Jenny) packing their trunks and saying goodbye to the circus is 11 million kroner – a 4 million hike on the original offer.
The Ministry of Environment and Food will initiate an application process to choose a zoo to take the elephants from the state free of charge.
The elephants will be handed over to the buyer who can offer the highest level of welfare.
Dyrenes Beskyttelse, a voluntary association that safeguards animals’ rights and safety, will take care of the elephants in the meantime – an estimated time period of four to eight months.
Possible ban on the cards
Whilst praising the co-operation with the circuses and Dyrenes Beskyttelse, Mogens Jensen, the food minister, revealed that he intends to shortly submit a bill to Parliament to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
Among the zoos to express an interest is Knuthenborg Safaripark, a 440-hectare park with more than enough space to accommodate the elephants, which has already investigated the possibility of allowing the animals to retire at its grounds.
Benny Berdino, the head of Cirkus Arena, said he hoped the elephants could soon “enjoy their retirement”.