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Elephants roam Berlin suburbs

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Photo: DPA
11:20 CEST+02:00
Three elephants that belong to a circus currently camped in a southern suburb of Berlin have been spotted roaming the area regularly, the daily Tagesspiegel reported on Sunday.

Residents in the district of Marienfelde report that the three African elephants walk the neighbourhood's streets daily and spend time at a nearby field.

There have been no reports of injuries, though passers-by often stop, stare and photograph the massive animals as they calmly make their way through the quiet area.

“We've had them also on the street,” a young local man told Tagesspiegel. Local children have also fed the animals grass though some residents have kept their distance from the three-tonne animals.

Circus owner and elephant trainer Roland Spindler defends the decision to allow the animals to roam free, saying that the animals respond to verbal commands and are extremely well-behaved.

“Animals also need a little bit of movement,” Spindler told Tagesspiegel.

The only way to prevent elephants from roaming is to put them behind an electric fence, said Gertraud Staschiok of the European Elephant Protection Society, who said the situation in Mariensfelde could easily turn dangerous and lead to serious injury for any person who comes too close to the animals.

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A local council member, Oliver Schworck, has threatened sanctions against the circus if the elephants aren't put in an enclosure.

“It's not right that elephants can stroll though Marienfelde,” Schworck told the paper.

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