I seriously debated whether to post this breaking-news item, out of concern for offending the sensibilties of my more delicate readers… In the end, however, I decided that since I may be your only set of eyes and ears here in Mexico, I am obligated to be the bearer of anything that falls into the “News You Will Only Hear in Mexico” category.
Just before dawn yesterday on a highway near the pyramids northeast of Mexico City, one man and one elephant both died. The man was a bus driver, who had the unfortunate bad luck of driving his bus full of passengers into the path of an oncoming elephant. “I didn’t know elephants were native to Mexico,” you might be thinking at this juncture. And indeed they are not.
In this case, the elephant was a 40-year-old female named either Hilda or Indra (accounts vary) who decided late Tuesday night that she’d had enough of peanuts, and “broke free as her keeper arrived to feed her,” according to the Telegraph.co.uk. She ran at least two kilometers through various communities in search, I would like to think, of a better life than the one offered in your average Mexican circus.
Some of you may find the below photo a bit disturbing, as I did when encountering it on the front page of the local newspaper over lunch yesterday. To put it in perspective, however, the newspapers here are generally chock-full of graphic photos of the countries latest drug war slayings– with a bias towards corpses that may or may not still have heads. So perhaps from the editors’ perspective, this was lightening things up a bit.
Anyway, according to the Elephants Encyclopedia, Hilda/Indra was the Grand Union Circus’s last elephant. It may be worth noting they do not appear to have a particularly good track record for elephant care (Lucy, a prior performer, died in when a truck went over a cliff in Guadalajara). Given this, my hope is that Hildra/Indra had wisely & carefully plotted her escape, took advantage of the element of surprise that elephants are known for, and although her venture did not go completely according to plan, she is now in a better place that will involve fewer interactions with the freak show circus personnel.
And for the rest of us– if you needed another reason not to drive in Mexico after dark, please add this to your file.