Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elephants make half-hearted bid for freedom

I'm having one of those months where it seems like it might be a good idea to run away and join the circus. Some elephants in Germany had the opposite idea, though, when they strolled away from their enclosure at a travelling circus and tried to catch a bus. According to Reuters:

Dunia, a 40-year-old Indian elephant, and her counterpart Daela, a 25-year-old African elephant, were apprehended by police near the western city of Hanover over the weekend nonchalantly munching on tree leaves and looking for all the world as if they were waiting for the bus.

A police spokesman downplayed the seriousness of the situation:

"The two elephants were quite cooperative and peaceful. Everyone was amused."

He sounds unaware of what a close call he had, given how frequently elephants commit violence against humans, both in the wild and in captivity. (Check out Elephant News, where they collect these stories.)

But fortunately, these elephants did not resist the authorities - and their much-vaunted intelligence failed them as far as their escape plan. It must have seemed easy - the bus stop was only a couple hundred feet away from their circus enclosure. But aside from the consideration of whether they'd have actually fit on the bus, the pachyderms made a couple of serious miscalculations. Not only was the police station practically right next door, but also, the bus stop was out of service for the summer.

So they were both badly-behaved and not that bright - or maybe they just didn't try that hard. Why give up the adoration of the crowds - and guaranteed meals and a place to sleep - for the uncertainties of life on the lam? So if you're still in that same dead-end job instead of chasing your dreams, maybe you shouldn't throw stones, huh?

Elephants leading the glamourous life from Circus No Spin Zone.

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