Dr. Lori Marino, executive director of The Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy, told The Dodo that the large elephant in the video is exhibiting "head bobbing," a common stereotypy.
"This is a very common sign of mental distress in elephants," she said. "Absolutely no question."
Marino went on to say that this behavior is commonly seen among animals who are suffering stress from anxiety, severe boredom and mental or physical pain.
"This video exemplifies why circuses are incompatible with elephant well-being, let alone thriving," she said. "From the level of sound and commotion surrounding the elephants on display, it would not be too much of an overstatement to say that they are losing their minds."