THE runaway camel

By | July 15, 2017

THE runaway camel that led police on a merry chase yesterday was not the first wild animal to escape a visiting Darwin circus — and it was a long way from being the most frightening.Three lions — that’s right, lions — once made a dramatic bid for freedom during a Darwin circus performance with one even going on to break up a wedding ceremony in the Botanic Gardens.

On Monday, the adventurous camel escaped from Circus Royale on Bagot Rd — one of Darwin’s busiest roads — before it was eventually caught on the ninth green of RAAF Darwin Golf Club and returned to the circus.But nearly 30 years earlier, in a moment of high drama, three ferocious lions and lionesses bolted free during a performance when they slipped into the crowd before jumping over a nine year-old boy and chasing their tamer.

One lioness went on the run on her own and ended up roaming the Botanic Gardens.But not before causing a havoc at a wedding that was going on there.The fierst felines were part of the touring Sole Brothers Circus that was at Mindil beach in Darwin on August 30, 1986.After escaping from their cage, one lion ran towards the entrance, jumping over Corey Allen, 9, as circus goers fled the tent in terror.

Corey said he was sitting next to his 15-year-old brother, Paul, when the lions escaped from their cage and headed towards them as they sat ringside.He said he ‘‘froze’’ when the lion ran at him.‘‘I closed my eyes in fright and next I felt a paw or something brush against me,’’ he said.Paul said: ‘‘Not moving probably saved his life.’

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