EUFAULA, Okla. — Talk about hitchhikers you really can’t pick up: Four circus elephants were briefly stuck along an Oklahoma road waiting for a ride. They were briefly stranded along the highway after a truck hauling them to Iowa broke down Wednesday, January 24th.
Trooper Dwight Durant said Thursday that the floor of the trailer carrying the pachyderms had started to give way and was dragging on the road, sparking grass fires along the way.
The elephants disembarked near Eufaula, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of Oklahoma City, after someone noticed the problem from another vehicle traveling behind the truck.
The elephants were transferred to another trailer and moved to a nearby veterinarian’s property before another vehicle arrived to take them to Iowa.
Durant said the elephants belong to Carson & Barnes Circus, based in Hugo, Oklahoma.
Federal records show the circus that owns the four elephants had a pachyderm escape its enclosure and roam free through a Wisconsin residential neighborhood last summer.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection report shows a Carson & Barnes Circus elephant got free from restraints in July at Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The female elephant was loose for a few hours before her trainer led her back to her barn.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized Hugo, Oklahoma-based Carson & Barnes after the floor began falling out of a trailer hauling the four elephants Wednesday, leaving them stalled for about two hours awaiting another ride. A statement from PETA urges people to avoid the circus’ shows.
Carson & Barnes spokeswoman Jennifer Wisener said Thursday a veterinarian examined the four elephants and that they appeared to be fine.