UPDATE: Train Arrives Early, Elephants Walk Without Supervision

Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-The St. Louis Health Director has some questions about how the Barnum and Bailey Circus conducted its elephant walk from the circus train to the Scottrade Center Wednesday.

Pam Walker says when the train came in at around midnight, 12 hours earlier than scheduled, she told circus officials to go ahead and walk the elephants right away, so they wouldn’t be stuck on the train for hours. Walker thought that’s what they would do. But she found out Wednesday evening that the elephants were actually walked to the Scottrade Center at 8 am.

Walker says, “I will contact the organizers and make it clear that in the future I expect the train to arrive and be coordinated with us so we can observe the unloading and the walking of the animals. And I do not expect this to occur in future years.”

Walker says rather than anything sinister, she believes the confusion was due to a lack of communication.

She says Thursday morning a Zoo veterinarian will join her staff to check over all 8 elephants and issue a report to her.

Walker says animal control officers will check on the elephants after each show, “We will have animal control officers there on a daily basis, until after the last show and the elephants are bedded down, to assure that we witness how they’re treated and how they’re cared for.”

She says they pay special attention to the elephants over other animals, because they are required to do things that aren’t natural for them.

Walker says in the three years the department’s been supervising the circus, they’ve seen no signs of abuse or neglect.

The circus is in town through Sunday.

Copyright KMOX Radio


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