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Vodka saves elephants from death in Siberian frost

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Dec. 14, 2012, 1:10 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

Local residents braving frosty weather in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012. Temperature dropped to -36 C (-32.8 F) on Wednesday.
© AP

MOSCOW — Vodka saved two circus elephants in Russia from the deadly Siberian cold.

Emergency ministry spokesman Alexander Davydov said Friday that the elephants were in a trailer that caught fire Thursday outside the city of Novosibirsk, forcing trainers to take them out into the bitter cold before another truck arrived to deliver them to a warm gym at a local community college.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported that trainer Leonid Labo had the animals, aged 45 and 48, drink 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of vodka diluted in warm water — and a veterinarian said later that only the tips of their ears were frostbitten.

Novosibisk zoo director Rostislav Shilo told the daily that the vodka saved the animals from frostbite and pneumonia, without harming or even intoxicating them.

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