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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

The elephant vanishes: how a circus family went on the run

<p>Dumba has spent her life performing in circuses around Europe, but in recent years animal rights activists have been campaigning to rescue her. When it looked like they might succeed, Dumba and her owners disappeared <br></p><p>One day in late September 2020, the Kludsky family – Yvonne, a slim, blond woman in her 60s, her husband, George, who is over 80 but still fit and strong, and their son Martyn – led their elephant up a ramp into the 10-metre trailer that constituted her second home. Dumba went willingly, as always; it was her owners who dragged their feet. The family had spent much of their lives on the road, but this time they did not know how long they would be gone, or if they would ever return.</p><p>The Kludskys’ home is on the outskirts of Caldes de Montbui, a spa town north of Barcelona. Set amid farmland and hills, the property forms part of a secluded residential development. Until recently, they had spent at least half of the year, travelling across Europe with Dumba, performing in circuses and zoos or hiring her out for media work – including a TV ad in which she <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAA7iv2VFjE" title="">lumbered</a> gracefully across a mattress to demonstrate the product’s durability (“A Pikolin can take anything”). Yvonne, whose professional name is Yvonne Kruse, is a fourth-generation circus performer, while George is sixth-generation circus, and they have worked with Dumba for 41 years, since she was brought to Europe from Asia at the age of two. “She is our daughter and we are her herd,” Kruse likes to say.</p><p> <span>Related: </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/02/kill-them-the-volunteer-army-plotting-to-wipe-out-britains-grey-squirrels">‘Kill them, kill them, kill them’: the volunteer army plotting to wipe out Britain’s grey squirrels</a> </p> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/jun/08/the-elephant-vanishes-dumba-how-a-circus-family-went-on-the-run">Continue reading...</a>

Dumba has spent her life performing in circuses around Europe, but in recent years animal rights activists have been campaigning to rescue her. When it looked like they might succeed, Dumba and her owners disappeared

One day in late September 2020, the Kludsky family – Yvonne, a slim, blond woman in her 60s, her husband, George, who is over 80 but still fit and strong, and their son Martyn – led their elephant up a ramp into the 10-metre trailer that constituted her second home. Dumba went willingly, as always; it was her owners who dragged their feet. The family had spent much of their lives on the road, but this time they did not know how long they would be gone, or if they would ever return.

The Kludskys’ home is on the outskirts of Caldes de Montbui, a spa town north of Barcelona. Set amid farmland and hills, the property forms part of a secluded residential development. Until recently, they had spent at least half of the year, travelling across Europe with Dumba, performing in circuses and zoos or hiring her out for media work – including a TV ad in which she lumbered gracefully across a mattress to demonstrate the product’s durability (“A Pikolin can take anything”). Yvonne, whose professional name is Yvonne Kruse, is a fourth-generation circus performer, while George is sixth-generation circus, and they have worked with Dumba for 41 years, since she was brought to Europe from Asia at the age of two. “She is our daughter and we are her herd,” Kruse likes to say.

Related: ‘Kill them, kill them, kill them’: the volunteer army plotting to wipe out Britain’s grey squirrels

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