Eight Bactrian camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid, Spanish police said on Friday. Exactly how the animals escaped was unclear, but the Quiros Circus, which owns them, said animal rights activists set them free.
The Bactrian camels, who have two humps and thick shaggy coats, and llama were spotted in the early morning wandering around the southern district of Carabanchel, close to where the circus is currently based.
“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter. Police detained them and brought them back to the circus.
Varios camellos🐫🐫🐫 y una llama 🦙 se han escapado esta noche de un #circo en #Madrid.— Policía Nacional (@policia) November 5, 2021
Agentes de la UPR🚔 los han localizado y custodiado para que pudieran volver sanos y salvos.#WeLoveAnimals💙 pic.twitter.com/4bX5T9cICf
Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, told AFP he filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut. “We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year,” he said.
Listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), only 950 Bactrian camels are left in the world. Bactrian camels originally come from the deserts of central and eastern Asia and can survive in extreme conditions. These days, most of them are domesticated.
Using wild animals in circuses is forbidden in many European countries, but some countries like France, Germany and Spain don’t have a nationwide ban.