What do you do if you are stuck with two elephants on a Siberian highway, the elephant-transporting truck burning and the pachyderms freezing in minus 40 degrees Celsius?
The correct answer is, you make them jog and give them vodka.
Problems started when the two Indian elephants, owed by a traveling Polish circus, were transported from Novokuznetsk to Omsk on late Thursday, a representative of the local administration said.
The hay in the truck caught fire from the diesel engine heating the cargo section, where the elephants were, the official said on Friday.
The truck had to be stopped and the elephants promptly released. They escaped the fire unharmed, but were left stranded on a Siberian highway in winter.
The handler made the animals jog so that they did not freeze, the official said. Meanwhile, the local authorities were alerted and the animals were moved into a heated garage nearby.
As an added precaution, the elephants were served two cases of vodka mixed with warm water.
“They roared like it was the jungle…Must have been happy,” the district official told RIA Novosti.
The animals got away with minor frostbite to their legs and tips of their ears, nothing that would disrupt their performance schedule, a spokeswoman for the Omsk city circus said. Their handler was hospitalized, also with frostbite.