Tyke Elephant Outlaw (2015) - full transcript

This is the gripping and emotionally charged story of Tyke, a circus elephant that went on a rampage in Honolulu in 1994, killed her trainer in front of thousands of spectators and died in a hail of gunfire. Her break for freedom - filmed from start to tragic end - traumatised a city and ignited a global battle over the use of animals in the entertainment industry. Looking at what made Tyke snap, the film goes back to meet the people who knew her and were affected by her death - former trainers and handlers, circus industry insiders, witnesses to her rampage, and animal rights activists for whom Tyke became a global rallying cry. 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. Ultimately, this moving documentary raises fundamental questions about our deep and mysterious connection to other species.

Allen came into the barn,
and I said,

'Allen, the only thing
I can really tell you is,

she shouldn't be doing this,
and you need to be careful.'

I even said to the owner then,

'She's not good for this,'
you know?

'She's not good for this.'

I told Allen
not to take Tyke on the road

when he came
to pick up that herd.

I told him
he should leave Tyke behind.

It was a beautiful day,

and I wanted to see
the famous circus.


I was seven years old,
and I was kind of excited

because a circus never really
comes to Hawaii.

So we were all excited,
you know?

Couldn't wait for it to start.

[whistle blows,
circus music starts]

When we went to the circus,

my son told the usher that
it was my birthday,

so she specially ushered us
to the front seat.

We had really good seats.

We were, like, up front.

The next thing I remember is,
I'm crossing my fingers

that the elephant show
will start.

It was either a high-wire
or a trapeze act before,

because I remember,
I was watching and it ended,

and there was some sort of
announcement going on,

or a fanfare or something,
and a loud trumpet.

Tyke was making noise.

She wouldn't come out.
She was just shaking herself.

I saw this beige form
moving around on the ground

behind the curtain.

Then, it came
flying through the curtain

followed by the elephant.

I was watching it.

I watched the elephant pick
him up, toss him back down

and roll him
all the way out the curtain.

I thought it was a dummy,
because it was very floppy.

There was no angles to it,
like elbows or knees,

it was all very fluid.

Then when he came out
is when we released,

'Oh, my God,
he's not playing with a doll,

it's his trainer.'

WOMAN: Oh, my God.

Oh, my goodness!

There was a guy, he was in
a blue, sort of...his outfit.

It was his circus outfit,
a dark-blue outfit.

He's going,
'Stop, stop, stop!'

Put his arms around the head
of the elephant

and the elephant
pushed him down.

I saw the elephant go up,
and my daughter said,

'You know what, Mom? I think
it's time for us to leave.'

I remember the announcement -
'Ladies and gentlemen,

please remain in your seats.
Everything is under control.'

And I thought to myself,
it clearly was not.

Then the elephant started
running kind of randomly

around the arena, so it's -

'This this is getting out
of control. What's going on?'

And the elephant started
coming towards us,

directly straight towards
where we were sitting.

We were standing already,
with our children in our arms.

We went down the stairs
and went out.

All of a sudden, a woman
yelled, a woman and a man -

'Get out, get out!'

I was so confused,
I didn't know what to do.

WOMAN: Oh, my God.

I could hear somebody going,

'He's right behind of us!
He's right behind of us!'

[elephant trumpets]

Next thing I know, we got hit,
down, knocked on the ground.

Then I hear this big 'boom!'

I looked to the side,
and there was the elephant.

She looks at elephant Tyke
and she says, 'Go away!'

She goes, 'You leave my
grandma alone. Go away!'

We came out,
and we're standing about here,

holding our two children,

and the elephant came
bang through.

I noticed
the thing was bent out,

and the elephant was
right there, going like...

We took our children
and ran this way.

I turned back and saw that
the elephant had turned

and went that way.

ANNOUNCER: If there's anyone
that needs medical assistance,

please let us know
at this time.

There was blood
all over the floor.

It still didn't hit me,
what had really happened.

two ambulances right away.

- Two people were crushed.

- Two people crushed?
- Yes, crushed.

We've got people

who were trampled by elephants

and people who are
going through great shock.

CALLER: Yeah. Kicked
the trainer almost to death.

Before I knew it, I was
in the arena in a stretcher.

REPORTER: It started off as
a day at the circus.

before horrified spectators,

an elephant went wild,
trampling its trainers

and escaping into the streets
near the Blaisdell Arena.

One person was killed. Police
say nine people were injured,

and at least three others were
taken to local hospitals.

REPORTER 2: His handler was
37-year-old Allen Campbell,

who gave his life
to save his young assistant.

The African elephant's owner

is struggling to understand

what caused it to suddenly
become so agitated.

REPORTER 4: Police radios
caught the frantic yells

of Honolulu patrolmen,

as Tyke went on her tear
through Kaka'ako.

us to shoot the elephant?


On the police scanner,
we hear,

'Elephant on the loose
in Kaka'ako,

heading toward Queen Street.'

And we all stopped and looked
at each other, thinking,

'Did we just hear "elephant?"'

So my photographer and I
drove up this way.

He dropped me off right here,

on the corner of Ward
and Queen.

I was just
coming down Ward Avenue

and turned onto the street,

and when
I got onto this street,

I saw the elephant
coming down the road here

with the police officers

I took my shoes off, and I ran
with my nylon stockings

down that street,
looking for the elephant.

Came up to the corner

and kind of looked, you know -
'What's going on?'

I saw the elephant chasing
a person around in the lot,

really, really agitated.

The person was running,
dancing around the car.

The elephant was moving fast,

the person was moving
a little faster.

MAN: Look out! Run!

I remember glancing out my
window, and I see an elephant,

going in circles,
around and around.

I thought,
'Something's wrong.'

MAN: Watch out!

I see this gentleman try to
close the wire gate on Tyke,

and she just knocks it open
like it's nothing.

Whoa, whoa!

And Tyke just goes after him.

It's clear that
he was in danger.

I saw a police officer
raise his pistol

and fire the first shot.


REPORTER: Those were
the first shots fired.

From there, she made her way

through the streets
of Kaka'ako.

I'm screaming, 'No!'

[car tires screech]


And as we rounded the corner,
we saw just an army

of SWAT-team members
and police and fire trucks.

We were told to stay back,

so we sat basically
behind the police cars.

We saw Tyke right there,
sitting up.

She was sitting up,
and I just saw her trunk,

flailing back and forth,
because she was swatting away

the barrage of bullets
coming her way.

REPORTER: We're told
circus officials had tried

to tranquilize the animal,
but it just didn't work,

and when the public safety
became an issue,

the police did
what they had to do.

NEWSCASTER: Right now,
we have a live report

from our reporter
at the scene.

Dick, right now,

they're preparing
to shoot the elephant again.

They're behind us,
behind the crowd.

What they're trying to do is
clear the area

they shoot the elephant.

The elephant is down.

When I got on the scene,

he was chasing the owner
of the pig review.


Those are shots, I think.

WOMAN: Come over here, girls.

[shooting continues]

People were praying, people
were just silently sobbing.

Um... I heard, I think, a
child's voice here and there -

'What's happening?'

REPORTER: William Dallas
Beckwith looked dead

as the angry elephant, Tyke,
tossed his lifeless body

from side to side, but
he's very much on his feet,

with only cuts and bruises,
no broken bones

and no internal injuries.

The only one that really could
get through to the elephant

was already put down
by the elephant.

No-one else could ever
get to that elephant,

so there was no use in trying.

Beckwith has been working for

the Hawthorn Corporation,
the elephant's owner,

for about a month.
He was Campbell's assistant.

the elephant's owner says

the animal has never
been a problem before.

What made it go so out
of control, kill its handler,

then trample people
and property on city streets?

I have had elephants
since 1954.

This is 1994,
and have never, ever once

had an elephant go loose

or go after somebody in
a building in all those years.

Among today's claims,

that there were
previous incidents with Tyke,

and circus officials
should have been aware

of the potential dangers here.

In Minot, North Dakota,
an elephant named Tyke

belonging to
the Hawthorn Group,

again got out of control
and had to be contained.

Prior to that, in Altoona,

an elephant named Tyke
broke loose from her chains,

ran around the arena
until she was controlled.

REPORTER: Animal Rights Hawaii

wants the court
and city officials

to ban animal performances
in the future.

[trainers shout commands]

My first encounter with Tyke,
I walked into the barn.

Mr Cuneo was
showing me the herd.

She turned, ears out,
picked up a mouthful of hay,

or trunkful of hay,
and threw it at me.

And I said, 'Uh-oh.'
Mr Cuneo downplayed it -

'Oh, Tyke.
She does that with everyone.

She's just
getting to know you.'

And I looked at that elephant,
and I said, 'Uh-oh.'

This is me with Tyke
and Jackie in Japan in '89.

She was a pretty fair size
back then. I'm 5'8".

I'd say right there, she'd
have been over 7 feet tall.

She knew her tricks,
and she did everything.

She was
a pretty versatile elephant.

She'd throw the balls
and catch batons

and ring the bell, and
she used to ride a tricycle,

which she got too big for.

Um, she was a good little
working elephant, you know?

Tyke was
one of the performers,

so she would only
be brought over

to my side of the barn

But when she was brought over,

I couldn't even go in
the room with my elephants

because she'd charge me.
She'd have her ears out.

She was...
she was an unhappy camper.

When she was over there,
I just didn't go in.

I threw hay
from the other side.

She had quite an attitude.

This is the last memento
of Tyke.

This is a piece from her tusk.

I took this from her to, let's
say, equal the playing field,

because I noticed she was
trying to use it on me.

As I walked by her,
she was a little bit more...

She only had one,
and it was on her left side.

She was a little bit more apt
to rub me with this tusk.

This tusk hit me
before her skin,

before I felt her skin
touching me, and she knew it.

She'd put a bit more pressure
to push with this tusk.

So I said, 'OK, we have to
equal the playing field.'

Once I took that from her,

she became a better elephant
for me.

I moved to Venice

because of the connection
with the circus.

I spent 30 years or so

involved with
Ringling Brothers.

This was their winter home.

We'd spend ten months
out on tour,

then come down to here
for three months,

then start it all over again.

I mean, I can't go anywhere
without remembering something

that went on back when
I was 18, 19 years old.

I've been coming here
since I was a kid.

I'm constantly walking in,
you know, memories.

My mother asked me to take
my siblings to the circus.

The circus was in town.

I knew nothing about circus,
really, and what goes on.

So I took them to the show,
and that was my first time.

The last act to come on was
the elephant act,

and that's what did it.
That's what did it.

It was the elephant act.

The music was jamming,
the elephants were moving.

Seeing Gunther Gebel-Williams,
it was one big party,

and I wanted to be
a part of it.

It was the magic
of Gunther Gebel-Williams.

It was something about him
that made me say,

'I want to work with
those animals

because of this gentleman.'

The way he
handled the animals,

I wanted to be
a part of his crew,

and I ran away with the circus
that night.

But from the moment
I joined the circus,

I'd always been 'nigger this'
and 'nigger that'.

'Black men don't work here.
Black men will never be...'

I was 18 years old,
and I stood up,

sick of all the negative,
and I said,

'I'm going to be the first

black animal trainer
around here.'

Fast forward 15 years, I was
the boss's right-hand man.

I was
working with all the animals

that he was working with.

My first job was
with Hawthorn Corporation.

I was a trainer for them.

I was in charge of trucking
them around, their safety,

their welfare, their food.

Anything and everything
about the herd was all on me.

REPORTER: Tyrone Taylor is
living his dream,

performing and traveling
from city to city

with his herd of elephants.

He's one of only 100 elephant
trainers in the country.

Intelligence is important,
and the desire.

I love this work. This is not
work to me, this is playing.

TYRONE: Mr Cuneo's elephants
were known as bad elephants,

'bad' meaning disposition.

He had some tough elephants.

You had to be really firm
with them to get around them.

We had Tyke, Jackie, Haddie
and Queenie.

Tyke and Jackie
were the African,

and Queenie and Haddie
were my two Asians.

Tyke was temperamental.

I enjoyed working with her.
She was very...

At the point
I had taken over with her,

she was, I'd say,
very gun-shy, very touchy.

She was instantly expecting
some type of discipline,

and I saw that in her.

I saw that.
I had to read this elephant.

I had to rediscover everything
about this elephant,

because no-one told me
anything about her.

I was the compound manager,

and I was also in charge
of taking care

of the breeding bull
that they had.

When the acts were in, they
all were lined up and chained

in the barn.

Other than getting practice,
they stayed chained up

22 hours a day...

..not being able to wander
around and visit and interact

and do all the tactile stuff
that elephants do so much of

in their daily lives
with each other.

They just weren't able
to be elephants at all.

They were
little pets on a string

that people wanted them to be.

I was one of the very few

that were working elephants
at that time.

It was testosterone-fueled.

It was guys being tough,
being macho -

'I can beat up
a full-grown elephant.

I can bring a full-grown
elephant to their knees.'

It was just more the culture
back then.

They would be beaten until
the elephants were screaming,

until they gave up whatever
behavior they were doing

or not doing.

[man shouts,
elephant trumpets]

Tyke, she required
a lot more discipline

because she was strong-willed.

She just fought tooth and nail

to not have to do
what she was doing.

She required a lot more...

..work - 'tuning up'
is what they used to call it -

than some of the others.

Just a lot of discipline,
heavy-handed discipline.

A lot of spankings.

It was ugly, it was ugly.

Things have happened
in her lifetime,

and she has kept those

She's a very smart elephant.

She kept all that with her.

Being as large as she is, if
she was afraid of something

or something wasn't going
her way, she would just leave.

She would step out. That's
what I mean, 'stepping off.'

She would leave.

An African elephant named Tyke

went wild
before a circus performance.

The elephant burst through
the doors of the Jaffa Mosque,

where the circus was

causing about $12,000
in damage.

TYRONE: Altoona, Pennsylvania.

We get there, and
another trainer had came in

to see if I needed any help.

He was in the same

We were both
in the Hawthorn Corporation.

His groom,
the trainer's groom,

was really agitating
my elephant that day.

She wasn't having any of it,

and she decided to go run
around and run through doors.

The police were called out.

I believe they were
going to shoot her.

They wanted me
to step away from her.

They were telling me
to step away,

and they had firearms out.

There was no way for her
to get back in the building.

She's on a two-story overhang.
What are we going to do?

Well, my job is
not to leave my animal.

I was not going to
leave my animal.

I was going to get her back
to where she needed to be.

And we did all right.
We got her back to the barn

and taken care of and put her
away, and everything was good.

No-one was hurt,
but she did run.

She did cause a spectacle
and she did run.

Then I knew she was a runner.

I think the first time I heard
of Tyke was in 1993.

from the Humane Society

in Altoona, Pennsylvania
called us,

said an elephant had crashed
out of an indoor arena.

knocked out some doors,

wound up out on
a loading dock,

and it took them
a couple of hours

to get her under control.

Luckily, it was a loading dock
and she couldn't step off.

If it had been a street
out there,

she would have been gone.

It would have happened
in Altoona instead of Hawaii.

The person from
the Humane Society asked me

what they should do.

Of course, I said, 'Don't ever
let her perform again.

She's an African.

She did that once,
she's going to do it again.'

Africans just don't
put up with

what Asians put up with
for so long.

That's what people don't know
about elephants -

they're just dangerous.

You have a false sense
of security somehow

in a performing situation.

I know probably
as much as anybody

about how they act
and what they do,

and they'll always
surprise you.

Something that
you don't expect

could easily happen
at any time.

After Altoona,

I even said to the owner then,

'She's not good for this,'
you know?

'She's not good for this.'

This was my personal opinion
from what I see

and also from my history.

I've worked Africans.

I've been taught how to do all
this from a great trainer.

I was expressing that I don't
think she's good for this,

but I was being dismissed as,

I don't know
what I'm talking about.

'You just need to be firmer.
You need to be heavier.

You need to get her
back in there,

and this is how you do it.'

Over at Hawthorn,

they had a reputation for
heavy-handed training.

A lot of the trainers were
old-school trainers.

They'd been around.

They'd come through the ranks

because they've had their
families in this business.

It's passed down,
generation to generation.

I was born in the business,

fourth generation.

My parents worked with

My dad was in concessions,
my mom was an aerialist.

I knew in third grade
I wanted to work elephants.

I wanted to make it my life.

RINGMASTER: The biggest
performers of them all,

the Walker Brothers Circus
performing elephants!

I was taught how
to use a bullhook, you know?

Most gentlemen...
You cue with your right hand,

you carry the bullhook
in your left hand.

You're cueing them by voice.

If there's a problem,
the elephant's getting lazy,

instead of skipping,
it's going to -

'I don't feel like doing this

maybe you'll take the bullhook

and shift it
to your right hand,

then they see
you moving the bullhook.

Not just me.

You could take certain
trainers that I grew up with

could go in to Tyke and
work her the same way I did.

There's just a certain
discipline that you've got

and a certain way
you work elephants, you know?

Then you have certain trainers
that came in that...

Like I said,
I didn't know Allen.

I didn't know this Tyrone.

I didn't know
any of these guys.

I grew up with a certain era
of trainers,

then these guys
came along, you know?

When I'm affectionate with
my animal, with my elephant,

it's all hands-on,
it's all love.

It's all here - it's under
the leg, it's behind the ear.

It's showing them all this
love they're going to get.

They get that from each other,
from their touches,

so I have to be more hands-on
and physical,

and not just light touches,
I'm giving hands-on.

I'm letting them know, 'You're
elephant, I'm elephant.

It's good.' Even through my
tone of voice - 'It's good.'

A lot of my work is done
from over here.

I don't have to come across

unless I really need
to catch an ear.

Remember, that's elephant.
That's ten foot tall.

How am I going to
get her head down?

Put it at the top, head down.
She'll bring head down.

If I have this
and I just want to move

and I don't want
to bring the hook out,

then I can say, 'Move. Move,
move, move. Move back.

Come in line. Come in line.'
Voice changes.

'Come in line.
All right, come in line.

Trunk, trunk!

All right.
Move up tail, move up tail!'

Then we move out.
Everything has changed.

Now we become elephant.
We step hard.

Because elephants,
even though they step light,

they're stepping hard.

SALLY: Elephants are big and
they can be very dangerous.

The theory back then was,

as long as
they are afraid of you,

they're not going to
do anything.

I was told that
you had to use a hook.

You had to be tough with them.

You had to beat them up

if they showed
any kind of reluctance

to do what you wanted.

If you happened to have
an elephant

that was strong-willed
and spirited,

they were the ones that were
going to give you trouble

because they thought about it.

They looked at you and went,
'You know, you're full of it.

I don't have to
do what you say.

I'm 10,000lbs, you're not.

That little stick
is not going to help you any.'

And elephants are methodical.

Asian elephants will
wait for years to kill you

if they are so inclined.

They hold a grudge.
They have long memories.

African elephants too.

They're very bright,
they're very intelligent.

They will remember you

whether it's good or bad,
and you better hope that

they're thinking good thoughts

if you're having to go in
with them again.



I went through several grooms
that Mr Cuneo gave me,

but I knew I needed only one.

My groom was Warren Wilkinson.

He's a gentleman
that I've known

since he was, like,
nine years old.

I told you I ain't changed,

I told you I ain't changed.

- How you been?
- Oh, man!

It's been a long time.

I trust Tyrone with my life.

I've known him my whole life.

At Hawthorn, first thing he
did was, he brought me over,

let me see the elephants,

explained to me
a little bit about them.

Gave me the run-down that they
were different than

the animals
I was used to working with,

that they were a lot more

This was, like,
the raw days right here.

This is my first act.
Oh, my God.

Dude, this is crazy,
watching this.

TYRONE: Tyke, Tyke!

I'm constantly yelling 'Tyke,'

even if I'm working with
the other elephants.

I yell back, 'Tyke, Tyke!'

so that she knows that
I'm constantly watching her.

Right there.

she hesitated a little bit.

TYRONE: Backing off. You've
got to see it ahead of time.

She doesn't get up
like the others.

She's always backing out.

She doesn't move as fast
as the others,

and this is not because of
physical ailment,

it's just her personality.

She's a little defiant.

WARREN: And stubborn.

You've still got to give her
credit, 'cause she still did.

She might have hesitated,

might have stepped out
every now and then

- but she did a good job.
- She was a smart elephant.

TYRONE: She was very good.
WARREN: I loved that trick.

TYRONE: That's why
John Cuneo loved it.

Yeah. She thought she was
in trouble right there.

She missed the baton,

then she shied away,
thinking she was in trouble.

Because nine out of ten...

She probably would have been.

Someone would have gave her
some reprimand

for them
throwing the baton wrong.

WARREN: That's what I miss,
right there.

I'm telling you, dude,
I loved when she did that.

In the past - I really believe
this, from her past -

she thought she was in for
some type of big trouble

once she got back to the line

because of everything
she was doing in the act,

all these little things.

WARREN: Oh, yeah.
TYRONE: Remember that day?

This is where she decides
to go in her own direction

and step out of the herd.

This is a potential danger
right here.

She knows what she's doing.

She knew she had done things
in the act,

and she knew she could
face reprimand

inside the picket line.

In the back of my mind,
it was a thought that

she could potentially run,
hurting someone,

at any given point, could
bolt out and do some damage.

I didn't feel it was necessary
for her to be there

because of
the potential danger already

that she was showing me.

I knew that
something could happen.

TYRONE: Minot, North Dakota.

It was an outside date.

That means our ring was set up

We were at a fairground.

Mr Cuneo had sent out
another groom for me.

He says,
'You need another groom,'

and I said, 'I don't.'
I had Warren, I had my groom,

and I didn't need
another groom.

He was persistent on
working with Tyke,

and no-one works with Tyke
but me.

I don't need anyone
messing with Tyke

or doing anything
getting her attention.

And this gentleman proceeded
to keep calling her name.

I told the gentleman,
'Don't say anything.

Just stand there.
Don't say a word.'

But he was persistent on just
calling her name,

letting it be known,
'I know that elephant.

I know how to handle Tyke.
I know what to do with Tyke.'

Everyone that came from that
organization thought they knew

what to do with Tyke.
It was the wrong thing to do.

That particular time, she
waited until the right time,

and she went after the guy.

I just heard Ty
calling Tyke's name.

I turned around,

and that's when I seen Tyke
attacking Mike Pursley.

She turned and knocked him
into a portable dumpster.

We had a portable trash
container, huge container.

She pinned him up
against that container

and used her trunk to
grind him into that container

and used her trunk to knock
him down and go on him,

used the base of the trunk,

and had her trunk
wrapped around one ankle

and kept pulling him back.

She kicked him,
would pull him back to her,

kick him,
pull him back to her.

She did that probably
three or four times.

She was trying to kill him,
so I had to get her off.

What I did was, I stuck
my bullhook into her ear.

That's all I had.

There's no time
to wail and flail.

And that's when she took off
from Ty.

We were on a 20-minute chase

through Minot State fairground
for her.

Ty had Queenie. He yelled
for me to grab a chain.

I grabbed a chain
from underneath the truck,

put it around my neck
and we took off running.

She was trapped between some
buildings, wreaking havoc,

and I had to go in,
no-one but me.

He passed Queenie off to me.

He started going
toward the workshop.

I just called her real stern,
got her attention,

the same way I always had -
no discipline and opened up.

I knew
I had to sacrifice myself.

I had to just show her
no hook in hand.

Hook was over here,
but no hook in hand.

And she turned,
ears flared out.

I just started thinking,

I'm like,
'Now I'm going to have to

leave this elephant unattended
if he needs help.'

To my surprise, she just
walked right up to him.

She ran up to me
like a big dog,

and just towered above me

and let me give her all this
love and hugs.

And inside, I am scared.

I am just heart beating,

'cause she just tried
to kill someone.

And to, I think,
both our surprises,

she didn't give us
any problems.

She literally walked back
to the picket line,

and we chained them both up.

Once I got her back to the
herd and got her chained down,

I said, 'We're not going to
use her anymore.

I'm not going to
take her off these chains

unless it's to load her up and
bring her back to the line,

because it's too dangerous.

Thank God no-one was hurt.'
I mean, someone was hurt -

Mike was,
but no-one in the park.

While it was going on...

..I don't really want to say
it was scary,

because I really wasn't
thinking of it like that.

After it was all done and said
and me and Tyrone sat down,

that's when it hit me.

I won't lie to you,
that's when it hit me.

If I'm not mistaken,
I even told Tyrone,

'Dude, that freaked me out.'

That was the last time,
in July.

July, yeah, '93,

was the last time I used her
in a performance.

I still had to go...

My contract ran through
September, October,

but I wouldn't use her.

I used just the three.

Despite Mr Cuneo
and us battling,

I just used the three.

I told him, 'This elephant is
going to kill someone.'

I just felt like she should be
in a sanctuary, zoo

or some type of establishment

that's just going to let her
be an elephant.

[ship's horn]

WARREN: Two days
before I left Hawthorn,

Allen came into the barn.

I was working in there
with the elephants.

He was like,
'If you work my Africans

the way you work these,
you'll be great.'

I said, 'Allen,
I'm not going to be here.'

He was like, 'You'll be here.'

I said, 'No, dude.
I've got to go to Florida.

I'm meeting up with Tyrone.
We're doing Ringling.

I'm not going to be here.'

'I'll see you in a couple
weeks.' 'Whatever, Allen.

The only thing
I can really tell you is,

she shouldn't be doing this,
and you need to be careful.'

His last words to me before he
walked out of the barn was,

'If she gets out of line,

my Africans will
get her back into line.'

I said, 'All right.
I wish you the best, man.'

He said, 'All right, I'll see
you in a couple weeks.'

I started laughing. I said,
'I'm not going to be here!'

He's like, 'All right,'
and he walked out of the barn.

The last I heard about Allen

was when I seen it
on the news.

SALLY: I told Allen not
to take Tyke on the road

when he came
to pick up that herd.

I told him
he should leave Tyke behind.

He laughed.

Typical macho reaction -
'Oh, no, I can handle it.

I can get a handle on her.'

He had the option.
She could have stayed.

I could have put her
in the bull barn

and she would have been fine.

But that wasn't an option.

The Hawthorn Corporation
did not offer that

as an option to Allen.

It was all or nothing.

Typically, the bookings that
Hawthorn Corporation made

were for an act
of so many elephants,

and if you didn't have
that many elephants,

that contract wasn't
going to be upheld.

The number of elephants was
paramount in the bookings.

WARREN: To Cuneo, they were
there to make him money.

To me,
money's not worth a life.

There's no amount of money
that can repay a life.

So I think he should have

been done had her off the road
doing that.

Before me and Tyrone
got to her,

he should have had her,
you know, away from that.

But you know, greed makes
people do stupid things.

[show music,
elephant trumpets]

Ladies and gentlemen,

please remain seated.

Please remain seated.

WOMAN: Oh, my gosh!

Oh, my gosh! That's...

Oh, boy!


Oh, my gosh!

Oh, my gosh!

Allen wasn't ever the focus.

Allen was the by-product,
he was the by-catch.

He was collateral damage.

She wanted
to get rid of that groom.

Allen was trying to stop her.

She said, 'You know,
this isn't your fight,

but if you're going to
insist on it,

I'm going to make sure
you get out of my way

so I can finish
what I was doing.'

And then she stands,
she's looking,

she's got her ears up.

I'm sure she's listening
to the other elephants

that I'm sure are yelling
in the background.

Even if you can't hear it
on tape, there's no doubt

she's listening
to the other elephants.

She's trying to decide
what she's going to do,

and then that guy moves.

It's just a hair
that he moves,

but it's enough to bring
her attention back to him.

She didn't have a plan.

It's not like,
'I'm going to catch the bus'

or 'I've got a waiting car
for me

that's going to speed me off,

and we're going to live on the
lam in Mexico' or anything.

Just the natural flight
response triggered in her.

She knew she had to get out.

She wanted to get away
from it all.

She wanted to get away from
the noise,

the huge amounts of adrenaline

that were flowing everywhere
by that time in the arena.

She knew she was
in really big trouble,

and she knew she would
have been chained up,

she would have been beaten
a lot,

and she said, 'I'm going to
get out of Dodge,'

and took off.

[Tyke trumpets]




[shots echo]

She was shot 87 times.

She was shot all over
her body, in her eyes.

I remember that huge head

just leaning against the car.

It was heartbreaking

to see
such a majestic creature,

such a beautiful, huge,
gorgeous elephant

lying on the street
of Honolulu,

just lying on the street
of Honolulu

with that ridiculous
pink party hat on.

My boss called me,
and he said, 'Hey,

we've got to go
retrieve that elephant.'

I said, 'That elephant
that was on the news?'

He said,
'Yeah. I think they killed it.

It's down
in the Kaka'ako area.'

I said, 'Oh, my goodness!
They killed it?

Why did they kill it?'

He said, 'I don't know,
we just got the call.

We have to go
pick up the body.'

There was a car here,
just like how it is now.

She was lying down
on her right side

with her legs sticking out
across the road here.

I could see some blood
off of her.

I remember seeing, like,
a tear stain

coming from her eye.

I remember that, you know?

That struck me as
like she was crying -

'Why did they have to
kill me?' you know?

We had a front-end loader
come in here,

scooped her legs up,
slid the chain underneath,

secured it, did the same
for the back legs.

Then the operator in the crane
tightened up on the rigging.

Then I reversed my trailer
back under her body,

hanging up.

And then the crane operator
loaded her down on the deck.

We had a little tarp.

It wasn't much - just to
kind of cover her face.

We couldn't cover
her whole body.

Then we had a police escort.

We went up to the Halawa
industrial area,

where the quarantine station
is located,

and that's where
we took her body.

REPORTER: A family placed leis
right near the spot

where Tyke fell to her death.

Animal-rights groups had
a memorial service for Tyke

right where the female African
elephant was shot down.

REPORTER 2: Supporters
of Animal Rights Hawaii

returned to the site where
circus elephant, Tyke,

was gunned down.

The president of the group

the elephant is not to blame
for the tragedy.

She blames what she says is
the inhumane treatment

most circus animals receive.

They're shackled often 22
out of 24 hours,

are routinely deprived of food
and water,

made to wear
stupid costumes,

and this is considered
wholesome family fun?

In the days
following her death,

we worked very quickly,

and we scheduled

We could see that this had
really made a difference.

So we decided that
we would go forward

and try to make sure that
this could not happen again.

REPORTER: Animal-rights groups

are speaking out
about the circus incident.

REPORTER 2: Acting mayor,
Jeremy Harris, today said

he is thinking about
banning any circuses

featuring animal acts
from city facilities.

The Tyke incident

was an international incident.

This was going to
affect circuses worldwide.

This was
going to have an impact,

we thought
from the beginning,

not only on the smaller city
councils in the United States

but all across the world,
for that matter.

Don't go to the circus!

STEVEN: I'd worked
private investigations

for a number of years.

I drafted a proposal
for Ringling Brothers

to deal with
the animal-activist groups.

it started as something small

and became
a much larger issue.

REPORTER: For ten years, Steve
Kendall of Scott Township

spied on animal-rights groups
for Ringling Brothers

and other circuses.

I have a number of individuals

that are directly inside
animal-rights groups.

Some of them may be out there

You're talking about
double agents?

I tried to make it look like

I was friendly
with some of them,

but at the same time, I was
gathering the information.

They take them out of those.

MAN: They're still shackled
right now.

STEVEN: For the public safety.

MAN: You want
to take a walk? Just talk.

STEVEN: Good, I don't mind.

MAN: Let me do it to you
some time -

shackle you for 23 hours.
I'll let you walk around.

STEVEN: That's misinformation.
It's not 23 hours.

MAN: How many hours is it?
I'll use that from now on.

How many hours a day
are they shackled?

STEVEN: I can't give you
a direct figure.

MAN: How do you know?
Give me an estimate.

STEVEN: They take them out
every four hours.

I helped organize
counter demonstrations

against the animal-rights
activist groups.

Initially, we had to pay
individuals to come out,

because we needed to have
groups of people

that would at least be able

to get the attention
of the public

to show that
there were individuals

that supported the circus.

The animal-rights activists,
just ignore them.

Have a great time.

Throw it right in the garbage,
where it belongs.

Have a good time.

I look at the animal-rights
groups as being, at times,

a minority extremist group,

where their views are
going to be totally against

what the public wants, what
the circus industry wants,

and even, for the most part,

I met with the Vice-President
of Ringling Brothers,

and he said, 'Steve,
we're going to need you

to go over to Hawaii
right away

to deal with the fallout from
this particular accident,'

and at the same time too,

deal immediately
with the city council

considering the fact that
the animal-activist groups

wanted to ban the use
of animals in entertainment

immediately after
this incident happened.

TYLER RALSTON: This building
here is Honolulu Hale.

This is where the city council
headquarters is.

It's where we did a lot
of the work with testifying

in favor of the bills
we were trying to get passed

that were geared at
banning live exotic animals

in performing shows, such as
circuses and traveling shows.

Chairman Felix,
members of the committee.

The animals most commonly used
in circuses

and other traveling
animal acts are wild,

and can behave instinctively
and unpredictably.

If they become out of control,
they are further punished,

up to and including death,
as we experienced with Tyke.

Prior to this event,
our animal-related position

had been that

we just said that animals that
are used in entertainment,

whether they be domestic

or wild animals that are used
in entertainment,

should be treated humanely.
That was our position.

After the Tyke incident

and relooking at
our position statement,

we really
came to the conclusion that

you couldn't
treat a wild animal humanely

in the entertainment business.

The circus industry will tell
you that

they are repositories
of endangered species.

USDA inspection records
of John Cuneo's elephants

show a dearth of even the most
basic husbandry records.

They will boast that
their animals perform

because they like to.

STEVEN: I remember them
as if it were yesterday.

Cathy Goeggel,
the ringleader, I'd say,

of Animal Rights Hawaii,
was a nasty individual.

She was not someone you could
talk with or reason with.

She had a one-track mind,

and that was to lash out
against anybody

that was opposed to
their point of view.

It was outrageous.

The industry,
the circus industry,

employs people to say that
everything is wonderful,

everything is great.

The elephants love
doing what they're doing.

It's like the emperor
has no clothes.

These animals are all trained

through positive

There's a lot
of misconceptions

on how you get an animal
to perform a certain act.

When an elephant
stands on its hind legs,

this is something it does
naturally in the wild -

they reach branches off trees.

They also
stand on their hind legs

when they're engaging in
the act of sex.

The facts remain that
the animals don't do anything

other than what they do
in the wild,

and this is incorporated
into the acts.

I argued the fact that

the public had a right
to choose

whether or not they wanted

to see this type
of entertainment.

The fact is that
the circus had a history

going back hundreds of years,

and it's continued
to gather families

from across the nation

that come out and support the
circus and go to the shows.

Some would say the circus is
an old tradition,

it's part of American culture.

as well as child labor,

was an American tradition.

It was part
of American culture

and is now part
of American history.

And American history is where

exotic animals in
traveling shows needs to go.

When videos or information was
provided to the politicians,

it didn't seem
to make a difference,

or didn't seem
to get a result.

That's confusing to me.

I don't know why
that did happened that way.

I don't know why
we didn't end up with a result

that was more supportive
of the bills.


..I would say that
it involved a lot of money

and it's a business,

and that the argument that,
'It only happened one time'

might have prevailed.

On the other hand, we've never
had another elephant

come into this community.

So bill or no bill,
legislation or no legislation,

the outcome was and has been

there has been no elephant
coming back.

We have not had live circuses

with wild animals
allowed here.

It has not come back.

So ultimately, it did prevail.

ED STEWART: We agreed to take
Nicholas and Gypsy,

the two last elephants
that were at

the Hawthorn Corporation's
place in Illinois,

the same place where
Tyke came from.

If you guys want to take off,
you can go ahead now.

This is Nicholas,
the former circus elephant,

from Hawthorn Corporation.

HANDLER: Nick? Target.

started training Nicholas,

he was, of all the elephants
that I've been involved in

converting from free
to protected contact,

he was probably the most
afraid of the target

when we presented it.

He would turn and duck
his head and squint his eyes

like he was anticipating
being hit.

I think that's indicative of
the harsh training

that he received before.

He had that level of fear
of something on a stick.

That's a big, muddy foot.

When he comes in, he knows

nobody's ever
going to hit him here.

Are you thirsty?
I think he wants a warm drink.

If he doesn't want
to come to the wall

and he doesn't want to work

and he doesn't want
to present his foot or his ear

or his trunk or open his
mouth, he doesn't have to.

He can stay over there
or go back outside.

Nick, open.

Oh, where are you going?
Come here.

Nick, open.

Can I see that tooth?
Good boy.

Let me see.

There you go. Good boy, Nick.

Good boy! All right, Nick.

All right.

ED: Sometimes elephants
come in, they don't know even

that you can eat the grass,
that that's even an option,

because a lot of elephants
in captivity

have never been able
to walk on grass.

Behind me is Gypsy.

She was in the circus
her whole life, like Tyke.

Her life is different.

If she wants to go in the
lake, she can go in the lake.

If she wants
to scratch on a tree,

she can scratch on a tree.

If she wants
to dig her own mud hole,

she can dig her own mud hole
and roll in it.

Tyke could have been
right next to her.

I think in 50 years, we're
going to look back and say,

'Can you even believe that
we used to keep elephants

on chains and drag them
in trailers and trucks

and trains around the country

to ostensibly teach children
about elephants?'

It just is amazing to me

that it's happening
at this point in time.

But in 50 years,
in 10 years, hopefully,

it's not going to be around.

A lot has changed.
The times have changed.

Circuses have changed.

There's nothing going on much.

A lot of it's just memories.

This was actually
a safe haven.

There was never any
animal-rights activists here.

It was more like the city
council and all the higher-ups

really felt that it was too
much to have the circus.

This is the old
circus winter quarters.

We used to get the shows

Ringling Brothers
started from here,

then went out on tour
for ten months,

then came back
at the end of the season.

This is the arena,
the big top,

where the performances were.

Inside here,
this is where they were held.

This is all that's left of it.
It's been stripped down.

All the seats, the outside
shell, everything taken off.

I'm grateful that the shell is
still standing, but it's sad.

We had a good time here.

Every time I look at it, I do
remember the good times

that we had here.

It was home. That's why
I never went home again.

I never went home again.

[distant circus music
and show sounds]

Ladies and gentlemen,

your guest host for this
evening's performance.

[distant applause, cheering]

[blows whistle]

I'm from the old school,

so I feel that
animals really...

That's circus to me.

Circus is animals - liberty
acts, cat acts, elephant acts.

People love them.
You see that.

I look at the public when
they're watching my show.

You watch them when
the animals come out.

They love the animals.
They love to see them.

But these animal activists
and people like this,

they're not going to stop,
and when they're done with us,

I'm sure they're going to
start on pets.

People want elephants.

'Well, we're going to make
life so miserable for them

and hard, that they can't.'

They just keep chipping away.
They just keep chipping away.

I want elephants.

I do Shrine Circuses now.

If they had in their budget
for elephants,

I'd lease elephants
in a heartbeat.

We'd like to remind everybody

that we're going to be here
throughout the weekend.

We do have one more circus
performance today at 5:30.

Tomorrow, we only have one
performance at 3pm.

Tell all your friends and
neighbors to come on out

and come to the circus.

Ty and Tyke, they had some
kind of special connection.

We used to walk in that barn
in the morning

and he would
walk up to that elephant

and be like, 'Africa!'

She would lift her head up
and rumble.

Just watching it,
I could see the connection.

TYRONE: I loved that elephant.

There was something about her
that I connected with.

I liked the way
she showed me her affection.

She'd stand above me.

I'm 6'3", and this elephant's

I'm looking up underneath
her chin

when she stood above me.

She let me hug on her neck,

She just let me be around her.

That's what I loved most
about her -

she'd let me be around her.

When I look back at it, if I
could have changed my life

and said elephants
wouldn't be involved,

it would be devastating.

The time I spent with
elephants was amazing,

just priceless.

There's no other animal
I've ever worked with

that can compare with
what I got

with working with elephants,
and the relationship.

There's nothing better than
being hugged by an elephant.

It's just the most wonderful,

When they take their trunk
and blow against your face

and they wrap their trunk
around you,

it's fabulous, wonderful.

But those days...

..are gone.

If I could have
worked elephants

without all the brutality,
that would have been fabulous,

absolutely fabulous.

And when I look back,
like I said,

I'm sure there's
a special place in hell for me

for what I did
to the elephants,

because that was what
I was told I had to do

to stay alive and to keep
those elephants in line.

But now I know
that was all nonsense.

ED: I'm probably the most
critical person of all

of our place here.

I don't drive through here

and think how nice it is that
they're eating grass,

I drive through and think,
'Why are they behind a fence?'

Our philosophy is that

elephants are not designed for
captivity at all.

You can do what you can
for them,

but you'll never match
what they should have

if they were in the wild.

People say, 'What do you think
went wrong,

why did Tyke do
such an unnatural thing?'

That's the first natural thing
that Tyke did in her life,

was to run.

She did it in Altoona, she
injured people in North Dakota

and finally, in Hawaii,
she acted like a real elephant

and said, 'I'm not supposed to
be here. I'm tired.'

Whatever excuse they gave -
somebody made a noise,

somebody walked behind her,

it's always
'somebody honked a horn' -

they always have some excuse
why elephants take off.

But Tyke,
on that final day of her life,

real elephant behavior,

and it didn't fit
the streets of Hawaii.

Captions by CSI Australia