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Circus elephant runs loose in Montana after being spooked

The elephant escaped after being spooked and was eventually recaptured.
/ Source: TODAY

A circus elephant ran loose in the streets of Butte, Montana, on April 16, NBC Montana reported.

Surveillance video from Town Pump gas station shows the elephant roaming the streets as it’s being followed by a person.

Butte Sheriff Ed Lester tells NBC News by email that the elephant was apparently spooked by a vehicle and briefly escaped. The elephant walked on the road for a block or two before it was recaptured and loaded into a trailer by circus staff. 

No injuries to the animal or bystanders were reported.

“Glad it ended well and as far as I know the show went on as scheduled!” Lester said.

According to NBC Montana, the Asian elephant is named Viola and is part of the traveling circus Jordan World Circus. Viola escaped from her pen outside the Civic Center after being spooked when a truck backfired near where she was getting a bath.

The elephant escaped on April 16 but was later captured.
The elephant escaped on April 16 but was later captured.Matayah Utrayle-Shaylene Smith/Facebook

The outlet reported that the handlers were able to recapture Viola without law enforcement help after no more than 20 minutes.

Jordan World Circus did not immediately respond to NBC News and’s request for comment.

In an email statement from PETA, spokesperson Nicole Perreira described Viola as an “elderly elephant” and said that she has escaped “at least two other times — in 2010 and 2014.”

Butte resident Mataya Smith was driving when her husband alerted her of the elephant on the road. Smith told NBC Montana that the community handled the incident perfectly.

“We have plenty of experience with bison, not to get too close and not to interact too much and to stay within a safe distance. So I think it was probably safer for her to get loose here because we all kept our distance,” Smith said. “Everybody slowed down, backed up when she was coming towards them.”