Elephants escaped their circus pen in Missouri on Saturday, busting free from their enclosure at the Moolah Shrine Circus in St. Charles about 5 p.m. after they were “spooked.” The trio of female elephants were loose in an employee-only parking lot, and did damage to the vehicles parked there. No one was injured.
CNN on Sunday writes: “What's better than a bull in a China shop? Three cows in a parking lot – elephant cows, that is. The trunked trio – all circus stars in St. Louis, Missouri – found a way out of their enclosure Saturday and went for a stroll.”
Witnesses said the elephants escaped their handlers and started running through the parking lot, confused and frightened.
“Things started shaking. When I looked up I saw three elephants coming toward us,” recounts Sally Schmiz, who was attending the circus that day with family. “These huge elephants literally went through these huge RVs.”
The President of Moolah Shrine Circus, Dennis Kelley, would only give a terse statement to the media.
“The elephants were loose for a brief period,” Kelley said. “The handlers were able to occupy the animals and they are resting comfortably at this time.”
Other employees at the circus confirmed that these three elephants in particular are the ones that are trained and used to give children rides. Fortunately, no children were on the backs of these two-ton pachyderms when they broke free.
The Shrine Circus has yet to disclose how the elephants managed to get loose, simply saying that they became spooked and ran under a garage door and out into the lot.
The elephant’s trainers were able to slow them down between some trailers in the parking lot and lead them back to their corral. On a recommendation from the trainers, the elephants were given the night off Saturday, but were back performing today. The circus said none of the elephants appeared to be hurt, despite bumping and denting several cars, smashing windows and breaking side mirrors off.