One Lucky Elephant
Where does an elephant go after a life in the circus? Sixteen years have passed since circus producer and co-founder of Circus Flora, David Balding, adopted an orphaned baby African elephant named Flora. He lovingly raised her as part of his family and made her the star of his show. As Flora approached adulthood, he realized that she was not happy performing. When Flora the elephant lost her zest for performing, David went on a journey of mammoth proportions to find her a new home, revealing the unintended consequences of raising a wild animal in captivity. He faced the difficult truth that the circus is no place for Flora. She needs to be with other elephants. The road to Flora’s retirement, however, is a difficult and emotional journey which tests their bond in unexpected ways. Ten years in the making, One Lucky Elephant explores the consequences of keeping wild animals in captivity, while never losing sight of the delicate love story at its heart. Through Flora and David’s story, the film raises questions about our complex relationships with animals, for which there are no easy answers. One thing is certain: after watching this film, you will never look at an elephant in a zoo or a circus the same way again.
Flora was born in Zimbabwe on the African continent at a time when the elephant population was being decimated by ivory poachers and government sanctioned cullings. Flora lost her mother and her entire family, and was relocated to the United States where she was purchased by an elephant broker. Upon her arrival in America, Flora was adopted by David Balding, who became her guardian and surrogate “mother”. Flora soon found herself at the center of a circus that still bares her name. Flora performed in the circus for over 18 years, and while an assortment of human and animal friends provided a sense of a family life, David soon realized that she needed to be with other elephants.
If you are interested in ways to help support Flora please visit Ahali Elephants, the volunteer non-profit that was founded to care for her future: Ahali Elephants