The children may be having fun, but it’s unlikely the elephant would be having the same experience.
The elephant, named Mambo, is owned by a German circus company called the Reutlinger Weihnachtscircus that performs all over Europe. During these performances, Mambo, as well as five other elephants — Nanda, Tonga, Kimba and Betty — are forced to do unnatural tricks like stand on their back legs, balance on tiny stools and carry acrobats on their backs.
To get elephants to perform this way, they’re put through a brutal training process referred to as a crush. Trainers will beat, starve and sleep deprive the elephants until their spirits are broken, and the elephants eventually choose to obey commands rather than experience more pain and trauma.