Escaped circus elephant kills 65-year-old man in woods in Germany

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A 65-year-old man has been killed by an escaped circus elephant in Germany.

The man was taking his regular early morning stroll in some woods near the southwest town of Buchen.

The African elephant is believed to have attacked him shortly after 3am GMT, after escaping from a nearby circus.

An elephant performs at Circus Krone in Munick. This image shows an elephant and circus different to the ones mentioned in the story.

The 34-year old female elephant, named Baby, was captured and returned to Circus Luna, the circus that owns her.

Police say they are investigating whether the elephant escaped by herelf, or whether she was let out of her enclosure by someone. They will also look into why the elephant showed such aggression to the man.

Local newspaper Stimme reported that two people saw the accident from the road and called the police.

When the man did not return from his walk, his wife went out to look for him, to find the police already there.

Stimme also reported that elephants from the circus had previously injured people. A man was thrown into the air by an elephant and was seriously injured.

Animal rights group PETA has called for authorities to take the elephant away from the circus.

‘Much of what elephants feel, think and do is acquired through social learning,’ elephant researcher Joyce Poole told National Geographic.

After more than 30 years in Kenya, Ms Poole has heard numerous tales of elephants intentionally killing humans.

‘Aggressive behaviour toward people can be learned. Just as children learn prejudices from their parents, so, too, do elephants.’

Estimates claim that some 500 people are killed by elephants worldwide every year.



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