There was an unusual flurry of activity in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg after two elephants ran away from a visiting circus to frolic in the snow.
The elephants, 45-year-old Carla and 50-year-old Roni, were part of an Italian circus passing through the city on its way to St Petersburg.
Videos and photos posted on social media by delighted citizens showed the huge mammals wandering around the city and rolling in the snow as trainers tried to round them up.
One of the elephants crossed a busy street and headed to a residential building, gently pushing a man across the street who tried to stop her by holding on to her trunk.
Carla and Roni were reportedly with the Togni family, one of the largest Italian circus dynasties still active today.
Circus art director and host Sergey Bondarchuk told Russian state media: “The elephants have their own character and emotions, they are very smart.
“They walked outside and got very happy from seeing the snow, the trees and the pedestrians whom they took for spectators.
“We love our animals a lot, they are our family. They too love the circus, they get bored without work,” he added. “Our animals will live and die with us, they won’t survive in the wild.”
Eventually, handlers were able to get ropes around one of the elephant’s front legs, but it took a dozen people – handlers and helpful locals – to pull her back to their truck.
“The elephants wanted to get some new experiences before a long journey, and they got them,” the circus added.
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