YOU may call it the Russian way of rescuing animals in distress in the freezing Siberian region where mercury plummets to minus 20degree Celsius or less during these days of winter. The Russians kept two Indian elephants alive and kicking – quite literally – by making them drink Vodka to beat the cold.
The news reported by Moscow News makes interesting reading. Two Indian elephants, owned by a Polish circus currently touring Russia, were transported from Novokuznetsk to Omsk on the night of December 13, 2012. The owners had stacked lot of hay in the cargo section of the truck where the elephants were kept so that the animals are protected from the cold and jerks while the vehicle is moving.
The trouble started when the hay in the truck caught fire from the diesel engine heating the cargo section. The alert circus company officials in the vehicle stopped the truck and promptly released the elephants. Though the elephants escaped the fire unharmed, they faced certain death because of the extremely cold conditions on the Siberian highway in winter where they were stranded.
The handlers employed some innovative measures which we Indians know as ‘jugaad’. They made the animals jog so that they did not freeze. Meanwhile, the local authorities were alerted and the animals were moved into a heated garage nearby.
Now it was the turn for a master stroke from the rescuers. As an added precaution, the elephants were served two cases of vodka mixed with warm water. The animals got away with minor frostbite to their legs and tips of their ears, but were declared fit enough for their upcoming performance schedule. However, their handler was hospitalised, also with frostbite, and was recovering well. All’s well that ends well!