Vodka Saved Circus Elephants from Siberian Cold: Trainers

The pachyderms were fed watered-down booze to keep them warm, after a fire burned down their trailer

Friday, Dec 14, 2012  |  Updated 6:09 AM CDT
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Trainers in Siberia are crediting watered-down vodka with saving two circus elephants — possibly similar to this Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephant — from the cold.

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Circus trainers claim two of their elephants were saved from the deadly Siberian cold by vodka.

Emergency ministry spokesman Alexander Davydov said Friday that the elephants were in a trailer that caught fire Thursday outside the city of Novosibirsk, forcing trainers to take them out into the bitter cold before another truck arrived to deliver them to a warm gym at a local community college.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported that trainer Leonid Labo had the animals, aged 45 and 48, drink 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of vodka diluted in warm water — and a veterinarian said later that only the tips of their ears were frostbitten.

Although scientists say that alcohol can make humans feel warmer but actually lowers their core body temperature, Novosibirsk zoo director Rostislav Shilo told the daily that the vodka saved the animals from frostbite and pneumonia, without harming or even intoxicating them.

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