Elephant's ex-owner talks to Campbell Live
Wed, 25 Apr 2012 7:00p.m.
Police have confirmed that a female vet was killed this afternoon, in an incident with an elephant, at Franklin Zoo, south of Auckland.
Franklin zoo had only one elephant, Mila.
She used to be known as Jumbo, and when Campbell Live met her in 2009, she was being taken away from the circus she had lived in for most of her life, to be placed in SPCA care.
It is this elephant who is involved in this terrible incident.
Mila's former owner Tony Ratcliffe, was at the zoo this evening and spoke to Campbell Live.
Watch the video for the full story.
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2/05/2012 5:19:24 p.m.
As per usual the bleeding heart animal rights people try and piggy back on a tragedy to try and get there mostly misguided beliefs out into the public arena.
30/04/2012 5:43:52 p.m.
Wild animals belong in the wild not in a cicus and not in a zoo.
I agree that a zoo is better than a circus but it is still in captivity for our entertainment.
This was a tragic accident due to a failure in part on the SPCA and the legalities that permitted to hand over the elephant to an in experienced handler.
Simple answer ban wild animals in the circus and ban zoos then there will be no more accidents of this type.
29/04/2012 2:03:53 p.m.
steve hale wrote:
Since I was five (33 years ago now) I clearly remember seeing Jumbo/Mila visiting our town with Whirling Bros circus every second year. Jumbo was my favourite, I can still even remember patting her trunk and feeding her once. It was a real treat for a small Kiwi kid to see a real live elephant up close but to be honest I didnt ever stop to think at that age what sort of life Jumbo had. Sadly this tragedy makes me question whether a vet (no matter how caring and passionate Helen obviously was) with zero prior experience of handling elephants should have been given the responcibility of handling Jumbo/Mila. You wouldnt allow a driver on a restricted license to get behind the wheel of a 100 tonne dump truck on the open road. And to be fair wild animals are a much more dangerous and complex ball game to understand than handling any class of vehicle. Sadly in my opnion only "highly qualified elephant experts" should be allowed anywhere near these magnificent, wonderful creatures.
28/04/2012 10:06:02 a.m.
"Handler?" "Trainer?" TORTURER more like it. Elephants like Mila NEVER should be kept chained in a small enclosure, elephants are by nature nomadic, what Mr Radcliffe did for THIRTY years led to this poor woman's death. Should have been him.
27/04/2012 10:20:42 p.m.
Jean lyle wrote:
Why would anyone listen to someone who has used brutality and isolation and deprived a wild animal of its needs for over 20 years
this man is a bully - no one should listen to him - just watch him - he displays total disregard for care - no one should even listen to this person who deems to be an expert - A cruel man
27/04/2012 10:13:39 a.m.
Polly Whyte wrote:
what are you talking about Del Harris? did you not see the terrible behaviour that Mila had being in his so called "care"??? my heart goes out to the friends and family of Helen Scholfield. A lot of love and attention has gone into the last 3 years to give Mila a better life and it is a tragic accident. TV3 you should be ashamed of yourselves... trashy news coverage.
27/04/2012 1:10:07 a.m.
Del Harris wrote:
This story so much reminds me of Zion wildlife center when Craig Busch was pushed away from his animals and one of the keepers (Dalu) i think died as the result of a wild animal attack. I bet if Craig was still involved this attack wouldn't have happened either!
Now we have Tony Ratcliffe who has his 30 year old companion Jumbo (Mila) the African elephant taken away from him after 30 years of trust, respect and companionship by the higher powers. Nek minit we have another terrible death resulting from a wild animal who has lost his mate!
Come on people if you put 2 + 2 together here we get a picture!
Leave Dangerous Wild Animals with their Trainers! Companions, People the animals love and trust (Especially after 30 years!)
26/04/2012 8:30:19 p.m.
Me and my partner took our daughter to Mr Radcliffes circus 4 years ago but left at half time as we were appalled at the way he treated Jumbo and raved on about how awesome he was. He calls he 'the elephant' is this how a loving owner refers to his pet of 30 years? I don't think so.
26/04/2012 7:18:53 p.m.
Sandy Steel wrote:
this was a tragic accident why are people saying she did something wrong.
26/04/2012 6:50:55 p.m.
This guy seems like a total...well I can't say exactly what i think its in appropriate! I remember that Elephant when the Circus came to Tauranga about 8 years ago. At the time I was rowing and the animals were parked outside our shed. I distinctly remember this because the elephant was banging its trunk on the side of the trailer (which was tiny) and the Elephant was chained up and seem highly distressed. It sickened and angered me to see such a beautiful animial in such un-natural horrific environment. They should be ashamed of themselves for the harm they have caused to her welfare!! My thoughts go out to Helen's family. I thank her for her brilliant work with this and many other Animals.
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