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Friday, March 8, 2013

RBBB-COLUMBIA, SC

Columbia circus fans: Rain? Who cares?
There’s an elephant in the street


Elephants featured in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus stroll through USC’s Greek Village Tuesday morning.
FROM:  thetandd.com
By ERIN SHAW, USC School of Journalism
March 07, 2013
It’s not every day a 10,000-pound animal walks down your street.
Despite morning showers and delays, crowds assembled Tuesday to watch circus elephants and horses march through USC’s Greek Village en route to the Colonial Life Arena, where they will be performing in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey show this weekend.
Around 9 a.m., only a few people were meandering up and down the tracks beside the four Ringling train cars, which had come to a halt behind the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house. The cars rocked slightly back and forth as elephants moved around inside.

The circus train holding the elephants parks behind the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house Tuesday morning.
By 9:30 when the traditional walk to the arena was expected to start, the crowd had grown. By 10, none of the animals was in sight and the crowd was bigger, wetter and more impatient.
“What’s taking so long?” groaned Leola Kendall, 4.
“The elephants are just having a hard time waking up,” said her grandmother, Doris Kendall, who had brought Leola and her twin sister, Lucie, to see the animals.
The girls are going to see the circus this weekend with their parents, but Kendall said she wanted to let them see the elephants “up close and personal” first.

More than half a dozen horses parade behind the elephants on the way to the Colonial Life Arena.
Nearby, two Columbia natives were sporting serious-looking cameras and readying for the event. Robert Marley and Robert Weston are both members of the Columbia Camera Club and passed the time debating the superiority of Cannon or Nikon cameras. Marley had two Cannon cameras on him, while Weston adjusted his large Nikon with zoom lens.
When it began to rain, Marley pulled out a plastic bag from his pocket to protect his camera, saying, “I’m like the Boy Scouts, always prepared.”
 
The five Asian elephants all wear headdresses during the walk.
While some had umbrellas or took cover under Greek house awnings to avoid the on-and-off drizzle, third-year biology student Callie Cousins stood just behind the rope that separated the animals from the crowd. She craned her neck in the rain for a better look as the elephants began to disembark.
Cousins admitted she was missing two classes to come watch, but the future veterinarian said it was worth it to see the animals she hopes to work with one day.
“All my life I’ve just loved animals,” Cousins said. “The exotics really attract me, especially since a lot of them are endangered. Elephants are my No. 1.”
 
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The Asian elephants like the ones that perform in the circus have been on the endangered species list for 37 years. There are fewer than 33,000 of them left on the planet, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
At 10:30 a.m., the elephants rumbled out of the train cars while members of the crowed started pointing and snapping pictures. The five elephants all wore headdresses and held onto one another’s tails as they walked briskly beside trainers toward the arena.
In less than a minute  — much faster than you might expect for an elephant — the convoy had disappeared down the road. Five minutes later, Cousins stopped a friend in a passing car to explain what she had seen.
“The elephants were just here!” she said excitedly. “It was awesome.”
http://thetandd.com/news/local/columbia-circus-fans-rain-who-cares-there-s-an-elephant/article_6af4ace2-86e2-11e2-b5f5-001a4bcf887a.html
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