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Stop Circus From Exploiting Exotic Animals

Target: Sergey Nesterov, General Director of the Russian State Circus, Animal Trainer at Safari Circus, Moscow, Russia

Goal: Stop keeping exotic animals captive and forcing them to perform, exploiting them for entertainment and profit, and instead release them to sanctuary.

Viral video footage of an endangered white rhino allegedly being forced to perform at a Russian circus has sparked international outrage, and revealed the reported exploitation of many other exotic animals as well. The footage is believed to be of a rhino named Mafa, forced to be ridden by one performer, and being whipped over and over by the ringmaster, as is reportedly visible in the video. White rhinos are already struggling to survive due to poaching and habitat loss; to enslave any animal and treat him or her this way is inconceivable, let alone an endangered one. As Chris Draper of the Born Free Foundation states, “To see the animal in this circumstance when you’ve seen one in the wild is utterly incongruent. Not only is it being exposed to substantial noise, but the use of the whip is wrong. They would say it doesn’t hurt, but if that’s the case why use it at all?”

This particular white rhino is believed to be hired out to a variety of circuses in Russia. The video allegedly comes from the Russian State Circus, while it appears that the same rhino was captured in footage from the Safari Circus in Moscow as well. Additionally, further investigation by The Independent and World Animal News brought to light that according to Safari Circus’s website, many other exotic animals are also held captive there and forced to perform. White tigers are reportedly forced to perform, and kangaroos are shown with chains around their necks and wearing boxing gloves, forced to fight a human in a boxing ring. The unnatural living conditions of a circus are no environment for any wild animal. Sign below to demand that the circus stop making animals perform and release them to a sanctuary.




Dear Mr. Nesterov,


Under no circumstances is it acceptable to confine wild animals to a circus environment, kept in chains, whipped, and exploited for the sake of entertainment and profit. The international outrage sparked by the video footage—now viral—of an endangered white rhino allegedly being forced to perform this way indicated not only that this is morally wrong, but also that it is not a viable business strategy. As a general director and trainer at these circuses, you have a responsibility to these animals and to the public.


The footage of the rhino prompted further research into these Russian circuses, which notably revealed that many other exotic animals are enslaved in Moscow’s Safari Circus. The website reportedly shows white tigers being forced to do tricks and kangaroos kept in chains and forced to spar with humans. This alleged cruelty cannot continue. I urge you to ensure that the white rhino and all of the animals at Safari Circus are released to sanctuary, where they can live out the remainder of their lives in peace and safety.




[Your Name Here]


Photo Credit: Steep TV



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