FIRST he handed over Anne, the last circus elephant in Britain. Now ringmaster Bobby Roberts has allowed his last exotic animal, Monty the camel, to be rehomed in Doncaster and have a new life of freedom.
Seven-year-old Monty, who was born in captivity, is now enjoying acres of open pasture and is being introduced to other camels for the first time in his life.
He has spent most of his life travelling around the country in an animal transporter with the Bobby Roberts Super Circus, after he was given to his granddaughter Summer as a birthday present.
Monty appeared in the ring alongside horses, clowns and until recently, Anne, who was rescued after animal rights campaigners filmed her being abused by a groom.
Matt Forde of Specialist Wildlife Services, which helped find Monty his new home with Yorkshire Wildlife Park said: “The circus decided to go wild animal-free and voluntarily asked us to rehome their camel as well. He’s in good condition and has been loved and looked after.
“But being on the road, without the society of other camels, is not the best life for him and it seems the circus has realised that which can only be a good thing.”
A tearful Summer handed Monty over to Yorkshire Wildlife Park this week while the circus was in Newcastle, and he was loaded onto a transport for what is hoped will be his final journey, to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.
Before his trip to his new home he was checked by vets from the RSPCA and given the all-clear to travel.
John Minion, Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s animal director, said: “He’s settling in brilliantly. He was a bit shocked by all the space and other animals around at first, but he’s feeding well and is going to be a big hit with everyone. He has a wonderful, gentle nature and doesn’t seem to be pining at all.
“We have a large herd of camels and we plan to introduce him slowly. It’ll take six months for him to learn how to behave like a camel rather than a human.”
Dr Ros Clubb, senior scientist for the RSPCA, said “We are so pleased that Monty coped well with the journey, is safe and is now making himself at home in his new surroundings.
“Circuses are clearly no place for wild animals. Conditions such as confinement to beastwagons and cramped temporary cages, transporting them from site to site and exposing them to abnormal social groups and noisy conditions all add up to a recipe for poor animal welfare.
“The RSPCA has long campaigned for a ban on wild animals is circuses and is delighted to have now helped both Monty and Anne out of the circus and into an environment which better suits their needs.
“It is absolutely fantastic that Bobby Roberts Circus is now a wild animal-free zone and there are now just three circuses left touring England with wild animals.
“But three is still too many - we need there to be none. We only hope that this serves as yet another reminder to the Government of the pressing need for action on this issue.”