|Mongolian family have their picture taken with an elephant at the Moscow in Ulan Bator.
The Moscow Circus has resorted to vodka -- plenty of it -- to keep two Indian elephants warm while they perform in chilly Mongolia.
As the circus prepared for a week-long program in Mongolia's capital Ulan Bator, they faced an awkward problem -- how to keep the two tropical animals happy in one of the world's coldest environments. They found a very Russian solution.
"When the elephants arrived, we gave them three liters of vodka each to keep warm," a Mongolian organizer said.
The mercury in Mongolia regularly falls to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower during the winter months.
Last time the Moscow Circus was in Ulan Bator was over 25 years ago, when Russia was still the center of the mighty Soviet Union, and Mongolia was its obedient satellite, according to the Ulan Bator Post.
The elephants, transported by truck from Russia, have posed major logistical problems for the organizers, the paper said.
Mongolia's State Circus, which provides the venue for the twice-daily shows, did not have apenbig enough for the elephants, and instead its horse pens had to be altered into make-shift elephant accommodation.
The elephants also have to be fed 50 kilograms of vegetables, 30 kilograms of fruit and 20 kilograms of bread and honey every day, running up a giant food bill footed by Mongol Gazar Savings and Loan.