Circus Elephants Stranded in Siberia Resume Rehearsals

OMSK, December 17 (RIA Novosti) – Two Indian elephants stranded last week on a Siberian highway in cold weather after a fire accident have been successfully transported to Omsk and started rehearsals for their upcoming performance, a circus director said on Monday.

The two elephants of a Polish circus, aged 45 and 48, were travelling from Novokuznetsk to Omsk on late Thursday when the hay in the truck caught fire from the diesel engine heating the cargo section.

The animals were released unharmed, but were left stranded on the highway as the temperature dropped down to minus 40 degrees Celsius. Local officials said earlier that the handler made the animals jog so that they did not freeze. As the five-ton elephants were moved into a heated garage nearby, they were served two cases of vodka mixed with warm water.

“The elephants have arrived and started rehearsing. Their first performance is scheduled for December 22,” Omsk circus director Yelena Agafonova told RIA Novosti.

The animals got away with minor frostbite to their ears, while the handler was taken to the hospital. Now the circus staff stored 60 boxes of ointment to heal the elephants’ frostbites, Agafonova said.

A local fire control official said that the burning might have caused by some damage in the heating system of the truck.


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