Asia’s First Empathy-Building Animatronic Elephant, Voiced by Actor Dia Mirza, Visits Delhi Schools Courtesy of PETA India

Posted on by Shreya Manocha

Children at Raghubir Singh Junior Modern School were treated to a special visit on 30 January from a stunningly realistic, life-size mechanical elephant named Ellie – voiced by actor Dia Mirza – as PETA India launched a tour of schools in the Delhi National Capital Region (Delhi-NCR) to teach empathy to students. While blinking her eyes and flapping her ears, just like a real elephant, she tells children an age-appropriate story about being separated from her mother as a baby, the abuse she endured in a circus, and finally, her happy life at a sanctuary after her rescue.

PETA India has documented that captive elephants used for entertainment are often beaten into submission and jabbed with ankuses – heavy batons with sharp steel tips – to control them through pain and fear. Many develop abnormal behaviour after years of strict confinement, and they are rarely given adequate food, water, or veterinary care.

Since May 2023, Ellie has reached almost 48,000 young learners at various private, public, international, and government schools across India, sharing the message that elephants should not be used in circuses or for rides or other cruel events. She’ll now be interacting with thousands of kids at well-known schools in the Delhi-NCR, including K R Mangalam World School, Pathways World School, The Shriram Millennium School and Little Millennium School.

PETA India also runs a free humane education programme, Compassionate Citizen, designed to help school students aged 8 to 12 better understand and appreciate animals. It has been used by over 2 lakh schools, reaching approximately 9.2 crore children across India

Ellie will be in Delhi from 30 January to 14 February. Educators who would like Ellie to visit their schools can write to Meenakshi Narang at [email protected].

Help Stop the Use of Elephants for Rides! Would You Like Ellie to Visit Your School?