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Elephant escapes circus, roams Butte, Montana, video shows

A normal day in Montana took a turn when residents reported an unusual sighting: an elephant on the loose in Butte.

The incident was filmed by stunned witnesses as the animal weaved through traffic and passed a casino on Tuesday. A man, who appeared to be its master, can be seen running alongside the large mammal.

“An elephant is walking down the road,” a passerby can be heard saying in a video posted to Facebook by a user named Brittany McGinnis. “Oh my God,” the witness said, laughing.

As the elephant passes vehicles on the street, trunk and tail swinging, a passerby in the video says, “Only in Butte.” A circus elephant has broken loose.

A runaway circus elephant stopped traffic in Butte, Montana, on April 16 when it burst onto city streets. (Video: Brittany McGinnis via Storyful)

Local media reported that the elephant escaped from the Jordan World Circus, which was holding a show at the Butte Civic Center on Tuesday, according to its website. The circus did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning.

Butte Civic Center Director Bill Melvin told KXLF that a female elephant temporarily escaped from the Jordan World Circus. He said the animal’s owners were washing it outside the civic center when a passing vehicle turned on it. The elephant got scared, then managed to free itself, Melvin said.

At one point, the animal defecated on someone’s lawn, NBC Montana reported. The elephant was eventually captured and returned to the circus without injury, KXLF reported.

Photos and videos of the elephant’s escape quickly appeared on social media, sparking various reactions.

“This is crazy,” one person wrote. “This is probably the most freedom the elephant has had in his life,” wrote another.

Despite the dramatic images circulating, Melvin told the Daily Montanan that the elephant’s escape “wasn’t as dramatic as you might think.”

“Everyone returned home safely,” he said.

The group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals said it filed a complaint with federal authorities, citing the circus’ “failure to protect” the elephant and the public.

The animal rights group also urged people not to buy tickets to a circus that requires elephants to perform.

“Elephants learn crucial social and behavioral skills from their mothers and other family members, with whom they share intense emotional bonds,” PETA said. “Instead of experiencing all of this in their natural habitat, elephants used in circuses are exploited and forced to perform meaningless circus tricks on the road.”

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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