Elephants escape from circus to 'play in the snow'

Elephants in the streets of Yekaterinburg Credit: Anna Dubrovskaya via AP

Two female elephants made quite the impression in Russia's third-largest city after they skipped out on the circus to play in the snow.

Karla and Ranni stunned residents of Yekaterinburg as they wandered round busy streets and rolled around in snowfall.

A group of men attempted to bring them back, but Ranni was particularly resistant to return to the circus.

A local took a video of a man attempting to guide one of the elephants by the trunk, but instead the elephant calmly marched on ahead, pushing the man along slippery ice.

The local circus said the two elephants belong to an Italian company that ran a show in Yekaterinburg during the new year holidays.

When its troupe tried to load the animals into a truck to head to the next destination, they resisted and walked away.

One of the elephants crosses the street in Yekaterinburg. Credit: Daniil Romanov via AP

The circus said Ranni loitered near the loading point but the more adventurous Karla decided to make a tour of the city.

Handlers finally got a rope around one of the elephant’s front legs, but it took a dozen people to pull her back.

She reluctantly obeyed after playing in the snow.

Circus workers had to form a human chain to guide the elephant back to the circus. Credit: Ksenia Tsybizova via AP

Another local filmed the moment the two elephants were reunited after their escape, showing one appearing to wave to the other.

The circus, which is run by an Italian company, said: "The elephants wanted to get some new experiences before a long journey, and they got them."