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The Death of Stoney the Elephant

The abuse, neglect and death of a performing elephant in Las Vegas


Dead Elephant From The King Royal Circus

Dead Elephant From The King Royal Circus

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The Death of Stoney the Elephant

Stoney, a Las Vegas performing elephant is one of the most disturbing examples of elephant neglect, according to the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS). The following information comes from both PAWS and the animal advocate Danielle N.

During practice one day, Stoney (who performed at the Luxor Casino in a dinner theater show) was practicing the hind leg stand. During rehearsal, while Stoney was on his back legs, his hamstring exploded with an audible crack.

The elephant—very much in pain—was dragged from backstage, placed in a dumpster (the only thing sturdy enough to hold him that was handy) and forklifted to his quarters where he was held immobile in a medical device known as a "crush" so the doctor could look at him. Prognosis was negative and Stoney was kept largely immobile in the device for eleven months on casino property until he died while trying to stand up in a botched attempt to move him to an elephant breeding farm.

Almost a year passed and the elephant was often standing in his own waste. Additionally, he was unable to move very much. There was no happy ending to this story. Danielle N. writes that the animal advocate Linda Faso, who advocated on Stoney's behalf, talked to one of the crane operators who removed Stoney's body from the shed in the back of the casino. He says:

"It's a funny thing," one of them said, "After the elephant fell, he was lying on the ground sort of groaning in pain. Then the trainer walked through the door and that elephant started chirping and calling to him; then he reached out his trunk to the guy like he wanted to touch him. The guy said 'cut it out Stoney' and sort of pushed the trunk away. Then the elephant kind of sighed and then he died."

To be as fair as possible to Stoney's trainer, he was known to be a nice person and was not known to be abusive toward Stoney. The fact is that many details regarding Stoney's story are unknown for now. However, he undoubtedly met a brutal end and Stoney is but one example of why pop culture should truly consider its support of using elephants in entertainment.

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