Three elephants escaped from a circus in St. Charles, Missouri on Saturday. The elephants escaped from the back of the circus arena and wandered through a parking lot. They were able to be corralled by the elephant trainers.
The elephants are part of the Moolah Shrine Circus, which is run by the Royal Hanneford Circus. The elephants escaped during a performance at 5:00pm. The three elephants broke out into a parking lot, and then roamed the parking lot before being detained.
The parking lot in which the elephants roamed is only used by circus workers and Shriner’s employees. There were no people in the parking lot at the time of the escape, and no one was injured. Two pick-up trucks, along with two campers, were damaged. It is possible that the elephants caused other vehicle damages that have not yet been reported. The damaged pick-ups and campers were vehicles belonged to circus employees.
This is not the first time that elephants have escaped from a circus. There are many incidents involving circus elephants fleeing from a circus. Often times the reason cited for the escape is that the elephant was startled. For example, in 2010 an elephant escaped from the Carson and Barnes Circus in Virginia and was on the loose for 30 minutes after reportedly being startled by a rabbit.
In 2009 an elephant escaped from the Family Fun Circus in Oklahoma. The elephant crashed into an SUV, causing injuries to a passenger in the vehicle and also to the elephant. The elephant escaped after being startled by someone opening a flap door. This same elephant had escaped a different circus in the previous year, 2008. Also in 2009, another elephant became startled while giving children rides at the Murat Shrine Circus in Indiana. This startled elephant knocked over scaffolding, which ended in at least 15 children and one adult being injured.
Elephants escaped from the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus in Kansas in 2008. The elephants were said to be startled by tornado sirens, causing them to flee. The elephants were loose in the town for three hours before being captured in a chase that involved not only circus trainers and handlers, but also police officers and firefighters.
This is the 72 annual Moolah Shrine Circus. The circus features not only elephants, but also lions, tigers, trapeze artists, clowns and more. Along with using elephants in performances, the Moolah Shrine Circus also offers elephant rides. The elephant rides are available for $10. The circus started in St. Charles, Missouri on Thursday, March 20, and will be ending Sunday, March 23. The circus is advertised as a family event.
After being corralled by trainers the elephants that had escaped the circus were returned to their compound. Circus officials stated that the elephants were back in their compound and “resting comfortably.” It was recommended that after their escape, the three elephants should not participate in Saturday night’s circus performance. The elephants are expected to be able to return to the performing in the circus tomorrow upon approval from a trainer.
By Ashley Campbell