Elephant escapes from circus and kills pensioner in France

Elephant escapes from circus and kills pensioner in France

An 84-year-old man has been killed in France after a two-tonne elephant escaped from a circus and hit him with its trunk.

The elephant had performed in a show on Sunday afternoon in Lizy-sur-Ourcq, just outside Paris, and was then taken back to her open-air enclosure, reports Sky News.

But once back in her pen at the circus, owned by Cirque d'Europe, the elephant, grabbed a tarpaulin and placed it over the electric fence surrounding the enclosure, according to witnesses.

The animal then broke through barriers and trailers that formed a second enclosure.

The elephant, reportedly named Tanya, then rushed towards the elderly man and struck him with its trunk, slamming him to the ground.

The man had been playing bowls with friends on the village square when the elephant attacked, local media said.

The unidentified man was taken to hospital but died from his injuries overnight on Sunday, according to police.

According to the Daily Mail, animal rights protestors have accused Cirque d'Europe of cruelty.

Tanya, who was originally called Samba, was captured in Kenya when she was a year old. She was trained to lie on the ground under the big top, as crowds including hundreds of children screamed and shouted.

Muriel Arnal, of rights group One Voice, said to the Mail: "We were told that when Samba refused to perform one day, she was hit repeatedly by her trainer who only stopped because the children were in tears.

"I think Samba wanted to escape and the man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"We have always said that her place is not in this circus and that she could become dangerous. Any animal can become dangerous if it is mistreated."

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