Truxon: new circus attraction. Truxon: new circus attraction. jorge gonzález

Gorilla helps circus adapt to animals ban

Truxon is a one-tonne robotic gorilla that looks like the real thing

For a 127-year-old Mexico City-based circus, the crisis brought on by a ban on the use of animals meant opportunity — and a one-tonne gorilla in the tent.

Under a federal law that went into effect last July, at least 2,000 circus animals were put out to pasture in Mexico, including eight that were owned by Circo Atayde Hermanos.

The ban was a controversial one for circus owners, some of whom have claimed it was no more than a political ploy by the Green Ecologist Party, which promoted the legislation.

But Circo Atayde, which saw a 60% decline in revenues after it retired its animals in September 2014, decided to adapt.

“We had to adapt and devise the means to continue attracting people,” said Celeste Atayde, one of the circus’s owners.

It adopted some new initiatives, but the biggest was Truxon, a nine-meter tall gorilla that weighs a tonne but violates no law: Truxon is a robot.

He’s actually more than that for the circus. “For us, he is another artist,” said Atayde.

“We realized we had to bring in new attractions, so we brought in an animal, but an electronic one” and things are going well.

Truxon has eyes that blink and a mouth and hands that move. All its movements appear to be those of a real gorilla, said the circus owner.

The robot is the creation of four brothers — Rubén, Nelson, Moisés and Eduardo Peralvar, who invested US $50,000 in constructing it.

They would only say that its computer-driven, electronic brain directs gesticulations and movements that are powered by more than 50 pneumatic pistons. The rest they prefer to keep secret, as with any circus magic.

Showtime for Truxon is the finale, coming after the jugglers, acrobats, trapeze artists and clowns, entering the big top in the midst of thick artificial smog.

After a recent show, 12-year-old Ingrid Hernández said seeing Truxon beat his chest was “very impressive, very cool.”

Axel, 9, was of the same mind. “It’s really cool. I liked it because he picked people up and it looked like he was eating them.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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