WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It's a story thousands of viewers continue to connect with on our website.
Many of you have expressed concerns about the animals at the Big E, specifically Beulah, the Asian elephant, which we have now learned today has died at the age of fifty-four.
We spoke with Jill Alibrandi on the phone today, a woman who recorded video of Beulah over the weekend.
She and many others are upset to learn that Beulah has passed away from, what officials at the Big E are saying was due to, natural causes.
The spot where Beulah once stood now empty Wednesday evening at the Big E.
"I was very concerned and sent along those pictures and they were posted to Facebook with the video and there's no water or food nearby," Alibrandi tells us.
Alibrandi tells Western Mass News she has been protesting against Commerford and Sons' use of wild animals for years and has seen Beulah often.
She just never expected that day to be the last time she'd see the elephant and in that condition.
"I'm horrified, I'm saddened, I'm not surprised, and at least she's at peace now, because she's been tortured for so long. These wild, majestic creatures should never be forced to complete and perform stupid human tricks," says Alibrandi.
In a statement to Western Mass News, President and CEO Gene Cassidy of the Eastern States Exposotion says that they are heartbroken, and that...
"If you truly loved Beulah, kindly remember her and the Commerford family in your thoughts and prayers. They have lost a loved one."
Animal rights activists also speaking out.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, also known as PETA, tells us in a statement:
"Her death should be a wake-up call, and PETA is calling on Commerford to give its remaining elephants the desperately needed retirement that Beulah never got---and on The Big E to end its exploitative wild-animal exhibits."
"All of their wild animals need to be sent to an accredited sanctuary, where they can roam free and live at peace for the rest of their lives," added Alibrandi.
We did stop by Commerford and Sons’ tent at the fair tonight, but no one would comment.
Lauren Choplin with the Nonhuman Rights Projects tells us that elephants can live into their sixties without all the physical and emotional problems created by life in traveling circuses.