by Anura Guruge
1. The elephants are in Manchester, NH. They should be, out in the open, in the car park, behind the Verizon arena. They are hard to hide.
2. The elephants should be going back to the train, via Auburn St. and Elm St., after the last show — the question is WHEN?
3. Their next show is not until Wednesday, October 3, 2012 in Worcester, MA. I don’t know what happens in the interim. In prior years Manchester was always the last stop and they dashed off ‘home’ as soon as the last show was completed.
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH: THE Stop Press UPDATE Wednesday (Sept. 26) — Sept. 26, 2012.
Elephant Parade In Manchester, NH — Free (& Gratis) Thanks To Barnum & Bailey Circus — Sept. 25, 2012.
The Circus Is Coming To Town; Barnum & Bailey, This Week, In Manchester, NH — Sept. 24, 2012.
I genuinely feel bad for those that wanted to see the elephants yesterday, but missed it. I, as you can see from my updates, tried to do my best: I called the police (twice), I called the arena (twice) and even called up FELD (the parent company of the circus). I thank all of those that helped by sending me comments. About three years ago we too went mid-week to see the elephants arrive with Teischan. The train was about 90 minutes late. We saw it come in. We saw the elephants in the cars. But, we couldn’t wait for the parade because we had to get back home to meet Devanee’s school bus. But, we saw the parade on Sunday of that year.
I am in Alton. The last time I was in Manchester, actually Bedford, was a week ago. So I have no visibility as to what is happening at the Arena is real time.
I checked WMUR last night and this morning. I might have missed it but I can’t see any reports about the elephants or the circus — though one of our readers told us yesterday that she saw the WMUR van pulling up.
I also checked the Facebook page for and the Tweets from the Arena. Again I might not be seeing it. They talk about the circus being here but there is no mention of the elephants or the parade yesterday.
So here is my new druthers. The elephants might have become a new security issue. Yes, the circus is continuing to get a lot of flack about their treatment of animals. WMUR has an article about protests in Manchester against the circus. This could be why they are ALL being so evasive. Elephants, even the best trained ones, are easy to spook. So if a demonstrator did something crazy we could have a bad situation. Yes, I have experienced runaway elephants first hand, albeit this was a baby, maybe 1 year old. It was at a fair, an Expo, in Colombo in the 1960s. The elephant had been brought in as an attraction. Since it was still a baby people were not that concerned. Something happened, and it decides to take off. My parents were working a ‘stall’ (maybe it was my mother’s orphanage). It wasn’t a tent. They had long rows of storage unit like concrete enclosures. The elephants started going into each of these. It was agitated and all the commotion being made by the people was scaring it. I have never seen a bull in a china shop, but a baby elephant in a exhibition stall sure creates a stir. The poor elephant. It meant no harm. It just didn’t know what to do. I still remember this. My father, an academic, is not what anybody would call a physical, outdoor type person. But, he took a huge swipe at the elephant and whacked it on its rump to keep it from going into the stall where my mother and others were. I was impressed. I don’t think it really hurt the elephant. I think the elephant was a bit shorter than my father, and he is about 5′ 9″. So the elephant was still a baby, but of respectable size. He ran up and down those stalls, trunk in the air, tail up and squeaking. It ran by me a couple of times. I wasn’t scared. It wasn’t hurting anyone and even as kids we knew that. It was just big and knocked over everything in its path. They caught him in the end. He wasn’t punished. As I said yesterday baby elephants are like big puppies. They like to play; they just have no idea how big they are.
So, I think this is the issue. The circus, the arena and Manchester PD want to play down the presence of the elephants this year. If so, I understand. This is not Ceylon. If an elephant breaks rank on Elm St. the police will probably shoot it though you need special bullets to really fell an elephant, with one shot. Yes, elephants do get shot in Ceylon/Sri Lanka — but not that often. Yes, I remember one going rogue during the famous, annual, ‘Temple of the Tooth’ August parade when I was a child. They had to shoot the elephant, though it was the fault of the keeper. Elephants go into ‘Musk’ — a bit like ‘heat’. They tend to be excitable when in Musk. But, it is hard to miss Musk. When it musk they secrete an unmistakable an oily liquid from glands behind their eyes. You try not to take bull elephants in Musk on parades. I haven’t checked off late. Yes, in Sri Lanka where elephants walk the roads and work the land every day, and we have parades with lots of elephants, all decked up, pulling electric generators to power up all the lights on them, quite a few times a year, a few accidents do occur.
I am assuming, I am hoping that there will be a ‘closing’ parade on Sunday, the last show in Manchester starting at 4 pm and most likely ending by 6 or 6:30 pm. In past years the elephants started their walk back about 1 hour after the end of the show. They were a bit late last year. Not sure what will happen this year. Their next show is not until Wednesday. So they might stay the night in Manchester. Maybe all day Monday as well. If I find out more I will update this post.