Elephant runs away from the circus, strolls through neighborhood

Residents in a small Baraboo, Wisconsin neighborhood were stunned to see a full-grown elephant strolling through their streets and yards. The free-wheeling pachyderm enjoyed a brief morning of freedom Friday, before her trainer led her home.

The elephant’s name is Kelly, and she belongs to Circus World Museum. Kelly’s elephant pal Isla reportedly used her trunk to open a restraining device on Kelly’s enclosure, providing brief freedom for Kelly, according to Circus World spokesman Dave Saloutos.

As neighbors realized that a large elephant was wandering around, they contacted law enforcement officers, who quickly contacted Circus World Museum. One of Kelly’s trainers came and took the escapee back to the circus complex.

Saloutos says that during her escapade, Kelly had to cross the shallow Baraboo River before unlatching a gate herself in order to pilfer some marigolds for a meal. Residents report that while Kelly ate some flowers and tree leaves, she didn’t cause much damage during her 40 minutes or so away from the circus.

“[She] just went out for breakfast, I guess,” one witness joked.

Circus World Museum was created by John M. Kelley, “personal attorney for the Ringling brothers,” according to their website.  He and his partners created Circus World Museum in 1954 as a historical and educational facility, and in 1959, they gave it to the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

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