Panic and chaos gripped the Bhosari area near the circus ground on Wednesday morning when an elephant from the Rambo Circus came out on the street after breaking the rope with which it was held by three caretakers. The situation remained tense for over three hours till the mahout managed to control the elephant with the help of police officials, who also managed the crowd.
Around 10 am on Wednesday morning, when the three caretakers of Rambo Circus took Nitya, one of the four elephants in the circus, out of the Bhosari circus ground for a bath, the elephant managed to break free and started roaming around. Though she did not cause any damage to life and property, her presence scared the passers-by who started running helter-skelter.
Within an hour, there were almost 2,000 people out on the streets, most of them to see the elephant and the chaos. The crowd only made the animal nervous and stressed. As mahout could not control it, police arrived on the scene and managed to control the crowd. After over three hours, the mahout was able to take control of the elephant.
Mahesh Swami, assistant police inspector of the Bhosari Police station, “Though no untoward incident happened, we have warned the circus owner to take precautionary measures and shift them somewhere else, which is away from public. We have also told them to not get the elephants outside for a bath to avoid such incidents.”
Sujith Dilip, owner of Rambo Circus, said, “Nitya is very gentle by nature. Even on the circus ground, she roams around when set free without harming anyone and anything. The caretaker would have succeeded in controlling her, but she became nervous, scared and stressed seeing so many people around her. Her mother too wasn’t around and hence she started running here and there. The people were scared and so was she.”
Dilip said that on August 11, the circus had applied for a transit permit so they could shift their performing elephants to cities where they travel for performances. However, the circus is yet to receive the permit. “Now, to avoid such a situation, till we get a transit permit, we will shift the elephants to some other place in Pune where there is proper compound wall. My people are already on the lookout to find such a place on rent,” he said.
The circus owns four elephants – Champa, Saraswati, Anar and Nitya – who are taken care of by nine mahouts. Of different age and temperament, the four female elephants have been with the circus for more than past two decades now. The four elephants were bought by Rambo Circus’ owner PT Dilip from Kerala-based circuses more than 20 years ago. “Nitya was very tiny and was around a year old when she arrived. She is the youngest among the four and is the daughter of Anar; the two are inseparable,” Dilip said, adding that due to their old age, Anar and Saraswati stopped performing in the circus over a decade ago. Nitya is one of the four elephants confiscated by Animal Welfare Board of India on May 26 for violation of PCA Act. They returned home over a week ago after a Pimpri court ordered their interim custody to Rambo Circus.