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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 16:05 GMT
Germany hunts missing elephant
Elephant race in Germany
Elephants are not easy to disguise
Police in Germany have launched a nationwide hunt for the director of a circus who has gone on the run with one of his elephants.

The man, who has not been named, vanished when the authorities withdrew his licence to keep elephants following allegations of cruelty.

For almost a week the German police have been conducting the hunt without success.

A police spokesman said tracking Kenia, a female elephant, was not as simple as it sounds.

He said she could be transported in an unmarked lorry or hidden in any large stable.

Serious embarrassment

Kenia had been wintering with the circus's other animals in the town of Goeritz in eastern Germany.

Another of the circus's elephants, Rani, had to be put down earlier this month.

"Rani broke her hind leg and it never mended even after an operation. She was limping and in pain so she was put to sleep,"said Dieter Reineck, a local authority spokesman.

"Kenia had to witness all this and she suffered. Elephants are very sensitive animals."

Authorities told the circus director not to move Kenia, while she remained upset, but he defied the order

For the German police, the case of the missing elephant is a serious embarrassment.

One spokesman said if they could not find such a large animal it would not say much for their powers of detection.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"A police spokesman said tracking Kenia the elephant isn't as simple as it sounds"
See also:

16 Dec 02 | England
06 Dec 02 | England
03 Dec 02 | England
23 Oct 02 | Science/Nature
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