State trooper escorts wandering elephant back home to animal sanctuary

A New York State Trooper received the biggest shock of his career Sunday night while on patrol — an 8,000-pound surprise, to be exact.

Sgt. Dave Scott was on duty when police received a call around 11:35 p.m. detailing an elephant that had somehow gotten loose in Westtown, New York State Police Public Information Officer for Troop F Steven Nevel told ABC News.

Scott and another trooper responded to the field within 10 minutes, where the elephant was enjoying her freedom. Scott, who is familiar with the area, had an inkling that the elephant had escaped from the Sanctuary for Animals, a farm that houses all kinds of animals, across the street.

Scott then went to the sanctuary and alerted the owners of the elephant’s breakout, who came out and ordered the elephant to go back to where she belongs.

“They came out and spoke to the elephant like someone would talk to their dog,” Nevel said. “They told her to turn around and head back home, and she started heading back home.”

The 46-year-old Vietnamese elephant named Fripha, who arrived in the U.S. after she was burned by napalm during the Vietnam War, was able to stroll out of the sanctuary after a worker forgot to turn on an electric fence, Nevel said.

Fripha was not phased by the commotion and remained “nice” and “friendly” during the run-in, he added.

While state police often get calls detailing wayward bears, dogs and deer, it was the first time Scott had ever had to escort an elephant home, describing the encounter as “the strangest thing,” Nevel said.

“I wish I could have seen the trooper’s face when it came over the radio that we have a wandering elephant,” Nevel said. “I can imagine that he would have said, ‘Can you repeat that?'”

ABC News’ Ben Stein contributed to this report.

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