There’s something extremely fascinating about seeing animals exhibit human-like behaviors. It’s the reason why people love Koko the Gorilla who knows sign language, why (sadly) people buy tickets to see chimps dress up and wrestle each other, and it’s the reason circuses still exist. Unsurprisingly, it takes quite a bit of effort to get animals as large as elephants and as fierce as lions to perform tricks at the circus. Since these animals don’t have an innate desire to perform, trainers must employ aggressive and violent training tactics. This could be chaining animals up to walls, whipping them, or using bull hooks to stab them. Eventually, the animals equate messing up a trick with pain and so they do everything they can to perform without a hitch.

Tarra, the elephant, is one of the countless animals who suffered for years in the entertainment industry. Tarra traveled for two decades working in circuses, amusement parks, zoos, and in movies. She was most known for her painting “skills” and rollerskating.

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If you think an elephant riding around on roller skates sounds ridiculous, just wait until you see it. Here is Tarra way back when, being forced to do what is possibly the most unnatural activity for an elephant…

Before

Thankfully, Tarra was eventually rescued from this sad excuse of a life. She became the very first resident of The Elephant Sanctuary, a safe haven that is now the nation’s largest national habitat refuge developed specifically for African and Asian elephants. Nowadays, Tarra gets to spend her time roaming around spacious habitats and forming close bonds with fellow elephants.

Tarra has been living at the Elephant Sanctuary for 21 years. We are so happy that she was able to take her life back and enjoy the world – not all elephants are as lucky. Just look at her now!

After

 

Of course, the ideal situation would have been for Tarra to grow up with her family and herd of peers, roaming the vast landscape of Asia. Unfortunately, as we know, more and more elephants are being robbed of this pleasure every year. By abstaining from buying ivory goods, boycotting zoos and circuses, and sharing articles like this one to raise awareness about the abuses elephants have to endure, we can all play a part in helping elephants stay in their natural habitat or at the very least, be able to live in peace, like Tarra.

All image source: The Elephant Sanctuary/Facebook