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Germany: Camel leads circus animal breakout

April 24, 2024

A camel made two bids for freedom from a circus in Germany on Wednesday, and took several other animals with it. All the escaped creatures were quickly and safely rounded up.

A German police officer smiles in front of several camels
An official police press photo shows the escaped animals being rounded upImage: Polizeipräsidium Westpfalz

A camel escaped from a circus near the southwestern German city of Kaiserslautern on Wednesday and enabled a dozen further animals to break out in the process, according to local police.

Officers were first alerted to the situation when drivers spotted the camel walking down Entersweilerstrasse, just to the east of Kaiserslautern city center.

The single-humped dromedary had escaped from a nearby circus while staff had been dismantling tents, but it was quickly rounded-up and returned to the site.

However, the four-legged mammal appeared to get the hump at being recaptured and managed to slip away a second time, tearing a hole in a tent, through which other animals also made a bid for freedom, including at least one sheep and one cow.

All the want-away animals were eventually enticed back to the circus by police and animal carers with the help of food.

The breakout came on the same day that two British Army horses caused havoc by galopping through the streets of central London after getting spooked during a training exercise. Fortunately in Kaiserslautern, however, none of the animals were hurt.

Copy-camel escape attempt from Austria

Camels aren't native to Germany, but its not the first time they have been spotted roaming the streets of western Europe.

In October 2023, eight camels took advantage of a midnight power cut to escape from a circus in the Austrian town of Hallein, just south of Salzburg.

The camels, double-humped Bactrians in this case, were en route to the local train station when they were rounded up after 15 minutes of freedom. 

Camel babies in Bamberg

Indeed, it's been a busy few months for circus camels in German-speaking countries.

In February 2024, a circus in the small town of Hallstadt just outside the south-eastern German city of Bamberg celebrated the birth of two baby camels.

"Robert" and "Roberta" were named after the founder of a local medication company and have yet to make any spontaneous bids for freedom.

2018 was also a busy year for German circus camels, seven of which paid a Monday night visit to a discount supermarket near the northern city of Celle.

A few months earlier, two camels had approached a McDonald's restaurant near Bremen, but the vegetarians opted for the grass outside instead.

mf/wmr (dpa, AFP)