Spooked circus elephant roams Montana streets before being recaptured

An elephant escaped the confines of a traveling circus and roamed the streets of Butte, Montana, on Tuesday before it was recaptured without incident, NBC Montana reported.

Sheriff Ed Lester of the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department said by email that the elephant was “spooked by a vehicle and escaped briefly.”

Images from Butte showed the animal walking around Harrison Avenue, dwarfing vehicles.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the animal welfare group, identified the elephant as Viola, who has escaped her confines at least twice before, in 2010 and 2014, spokesperson Nicole Perreira said by email. The group described the elephant as “elderly.”

NBC Montana reported that Viola escaped from a traveling circus called Jordan World Circus when she was spooked by the sound of a vehicle. Viola was getting a bath at the time, the station said.

Jordan World Circus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An elephant walks along a street in Butte, Mont., on Tuesday.Courtesy Matayah Utrayle-Shaylene Smith via Facebook

“The elephant was walking in the street for a block or two but was then loaded into a trailer by circus staff,” Lester said.

The elephant was rounded up by handlers within about 20 minutes of having escaped early Tuesday afternoon, NBC Montana reported. No damage or injuries were reported.

“Glad it ended well,” Lester said, “and as far as I know, the show went on as scheduled.”

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