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Attenborough and the Giant Elephant (2017)

David Attenborough investigates the remarkable life and death of Jumbo the elephant - a celebrity animal superstar whose story is said to have inspired the movie Dumbo.


Stephen Dunleavy


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Cast overview:
David Attenborough ... Himself - Presenter
David Suzuki David Suzuki ... Himself - Presenter, Canadian Version
Michael Novacek ... Himself - Provost of Science, American Museum of Natural History (as Dr Michael Novacek)
Richard Thomas Richard Thomas ... Himself - Researcher of Ancient Animal Bones, University of Leicester (as Dr Richard Thomas)
John Hutchinson John Hutchinson ... Himself - Royal Veterinary College (as Professor John Hutchinson)
Holly Miller Holly Miller ... Herself - University of Nottingham / BGS (as Dr Holly Miller)
Edwin Lusichi Edwin Lusichi ... Himself - Head Keeper, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Angela Sheldrick Angela Sheldrick ... Herself - The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Vicki Fishlock Vicki Fishlock ... Herself - Amboseli Trust for Elephants (as Dr Vicki Fishlock)
Mike Baker Mike Baker ... Himself - Curator, Elgin County Museum


World renowned English naturalist David Attenborough uncovers the story of one of the most famous animals of all time; Jumbo. This African elephant arrived at London Zoo in 1865 as a part of a ploy to bring exciting new creatures to the park which would inspire the masses, they exceeded enormously with Jumbo who immediately became a hit with crowds and even Queen Victoria. Unfortunately for the British public he was sold to PT Barnum's circus in the US and became an even bigger star attracting more than 20 million people during his lifetime. This gentle giant wowed crowds during the day but by night he would have fits of rage often smashing up his cage. The reason for this and even the death of Jumbo are still a mystery which Attenborough and a team of scientists hope to unravel with unique access to the elephants remains. Written by Anonymous

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UK | Canada



Release Date:

10 December 2017 (UK) See more »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Sad story but lessons learned
10 August 2018 | by thundaga-35714See all my reviews

Another great documentary by the legend. This is a story not just about the life of an extraordinary animal, but of the importance of understanding the physical, dietary, and social needs of the animals we keep in captivity for education and entertainment purposes. One cannot really fault the keepers of the day for not understanding the needs of African elephants. We now have that knowledge. To the extent that we continue to keep animals like Jumbo -- and the ethical question is not the main concern of the film -- we should at least try to give them the best life they can have, catering to their needs. I don't doubt the love Matthew Scott (Jumbo's keeper) had for Jumbo, and had he known those certain measures required for Jumbo's happy life, I believe he would have definitely advocated for them.

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