Escaped Circus Elephant Runs Loose In Butte, Montana

(Left) NBC Montana / YouTube / (Right) Brittany McGinnis / Storyful via TODAY / YouTube

Escaped Circus Elephant Filmed Roaming Through The Streets Of Montana City

Butte, Montana is probably one of the last places you’d expect to see an elephant roaming around. But that exact circumstance happened when an escaped circus elephant recently made its way through the city.

Butte is the county seat of Silver Bow County in Montana. It is the fifth largest city in the state.

According to Visit Southwest Montana, Butte and the state’s southwest region are home to many large animals, including bighorn sheep, bison, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves, elk, moose, and mountain goats. But elephants are not on that list!

The Elephant Escaped After Being Spooked During A Bath

NBC Montana reports that an Asian elephant named Viola was in town with the Jordan World Circus. Viola was getting a bath in her pen outside the Civic Center when a truck backfired. The noise spooked Viola, and she escaped.

Videos from onlookers and a gas station surveillance camera show Viola making her way through the streets of Butte upon escaping.

Matayah Smith and her husband were driving when he spotted the elephant and pointed it out. Smith told NBC Montana:

 “I thought he just meant it was in the parking lot. And then I looked up and was like, ‘No, there is an elephant in the road!‘”

Another onlooker, Josh Hannifin, said:

“We ran out the door and finally caught a video of the elephant coming through the lot here. Pretty exciting. It’s not every day you see an elephant walking down Harrison Avenue in Butte, Montana.”

No One Was Harmed – And The Elephant Returned Safely

Thankfully, no one was harmed after Viola made her escape. Her handlers took less than 20 minutes to return her safely to her pen and they didn’t need any assistance from law enforcement.

An escaped circus elephant got loose in Butte, Montana
Matayah Utrayle-Shaylene Smith / Facebook

Smith feels everyone handled the situation well, considering how shocking it may have been to some witnesses. She said people are used to seeing bison in town, so they know to give large animals their space and watch from afar.

The circus continued later that evening after Viola’s safe return.

Watch a video of Viola’s great escape below.