Elephant walk: Pachyderm trots across busy street after escaping circus handlers


BUTTE, Mont. — Residents in Montana were treated to an unusual sight on Tuesday as they saw an elephant running loose on a busy street in Butte.

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The animal had escaped from a traveling circus, KRTV reported.

Butte Civic Center manager Bill Melvin confirmed to the television station that the elephant was part of the Jordan World Circus that is performing at the facility.

Note: Video below contains one instance of profanity.

According to Melvin, handlers were washing the female elephant outside the civic center when a passing vehicle backfired, scaring the animal, KXLF-TV reported.

The elephant trotted across Harrison Avenue, stopping traffic while a handler ran after the animal, according to the television station.

The wayward elephant’s walk was captured on cellphone video by Brittany McGinnis, who posted it on her Facebook page.

“Only in Butte,” a woman can be heard in the video as she laughed. “Where you going, friend?”

The handler managed to catch up to the elephant and bring her to safety, KTVM reported.

The animal was not injured, Melvin told KXLF.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the elephant’s name was Viola, and that she had escaped on at least two other occasions, in 2010 and 2014.

PETA added that Viola had been supplied to Jordan World Circus by Carson & Barnes Circus.

“Viola’s desperate break for freedom follows decades of abuse and involuntary servitude at the hands of Carson & Barnes Circus, which forces her to perform grueling, painful tricks,” Debbie Meltzer, PETA Foundation’s director of captive animal welfare, said in a statement.