Escaped Circus Elephant Roams Streets of Butte, Montana

Circus elephant escapes in Butte, Montana, sparking concern over exotic animal welfare and safety in populated areas. Tanya the elephant was safely returned after wandering the neighborhood.

Trim Correspondents
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Escaped Circus Elephant Roams Streets of Butte, Montana

Escaped Circus Elephant Roams Streets of Butte, Montana

Residents of Butte, Montana were startled on Tuesday morning when a full-grown circus elephant was spotted wandering through residential neighborhoods. The elephant, named Tanya, had escaped overnight from a traveling circus that had set up in town for performances.

Police received multiple 911 calls starting around 7am from residents reporting the unusual sight of an elephant strolling down their streets. "I thought I was seeing things when I looked out my window and saw an elephant walking by," said Butte resident Sarah Thompson. "You don't expect to see that here in Montana."

Tanya's trainer Jack Dillard said the 8,000 pound elephant likely broke through a weak spot in her enclosure sometime in the early morning hours and went exploring. Circus staff began searching as soon as the escape was discovered but Tanya had already made her way into town.

Why this matters: The incident highlights ongoing concerns about the welfare and safety of exotic animals used in traveling circus shows. It also raises questions about the security measures used to contain large, potentially dangerous animals in populated areas.

Police and animal control officers were able to locate Tanya after about an hour, finding her snacking on a vegetable garden outside a home. "She was very calm and well-behaved," said Butte police chief Dan Foster. "She wasn't aggressive at all, just seemed curious to explore her new surroundings."

Tanya was safely tranquilized and returned to the circus grounds by late morning. No one was hurt while she explored the neighborhood. The circus has promised to reinforce her enclosure and is cooperating with authorities investigating the startled circus elephant incident.

Key Takeaways

  • Circus elephant Tanya escaped overnight in Butte, Montana.
  • Residents reported the elephant wandering through neighborhoods.
  • Police safely located and tranquilized Tanya, returning her to the circus.
  • The incident raises concerns about exotic animal welfare in circuses.
  • The circus promises to reinforce Tanya's enclosure to prevent future escapes.