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Vodka Saves Elephants From Siberian Winter

Russian trainers get creative to stop a pair of circus elephants perishing.


What might have been
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By Bryan Le


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A group of Siberian circus trainers are extolling the virtues of vodka after Russia's staple drink allegedly saved the lives of two of their elephants. According to a spokesman for the Siberian Emergency Ministry, the elephants' heated trailer caught fire, forcing trainers to pull the beasts outside into the deadly Siberian winter. Desperate to keep the elephants from freezing, trainer Leonid Labo served up a soup of vodka and warm water to the pair of pachyderms. After drinking an impressive 2.6 gallons each, the elephants survived until a truck arrived to take them to a warm gym—suffering only a couple of frostbitten ear tips. Despite the fact that alcohol only makes us feel warm while actually lowering our body temperature, Novosibisk zoo director Rostislav Shilo still insists that the vodka saved the elephants from frostbite and pneumonia without hurting them or getting them drunk—which could have been the trainers. No word on whether these elephant trainers stashed some of the booze for themselves, like some we could mention.

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