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OFFBEAT

Madrid police end escaped camels’ night on the town

Eight camels and a llama took to the streets of Madrid overnight after escaping from a nearby circus, Spanish police said on Friday.

A camel in a zoo
A file photo of a camel in a zoo. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

It was not immediately clear how the long-legged runaways managed to get out but Quiros Circus, which owns them, blamed sabotage by animal rights activists.

They were spotted at around 5:00 am wandering around the southern district of Carabranchel close to where the circus is currently based.

“Various camels and a llama escaped from a circus in Madrid overnight,” Spain’s national police wrote on Twitter, sharing images of eight two-humped camels and a llama hanging around a street corner.

“Police found them and took care of them so they could be taken back safe and sound,” they tweeted.

There was no word on whether the rogue revellers, who are known for spitting, put up any resistance when the police moved in to detain them.

Mati Munoz, one of the circus’ managers, expressed relief the furry fugitives — Bactrian camels who have two humps and thick shaggy coats – had been safely caught.

“Nothing happened, thank God,” he told AFP, saying the circus had filed a complaint after discovering the electric fence around the animals’ enclosure had been cut.

“We think (their escape) was due to an act of sabotage by animal rights groups who protest every year.”

Bactrian camels (camelus bactrianus) come from the rocky deserts of central and eastern Asia and have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme conditions.

These days, the vast majority of them are domesticated.

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MADRID

Deaths in Spain in 2020 spiked to highest level since 1941

Deaths in Spain in 2020 increased by 17.7 percent compared to 2019 figures, the Spanish government reported on Thursday, the biggest number of annual deaths since records began in 1941.

Deaths in Spain in 2020 spiked to highest level since 1941
Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

The number of deaths in all of Spain totalled 492,930 in 2020, which was an increase of 74,227 or 17.7 percent over the previous year. 

The greatest number of deaths were seen in the Madrid region, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in Spain. Deaths in Madrid jumped 41 percent in 2020 over the previous year, official figures showed Thursday.

The region, which is home to around 6.7 million people, recorded a total of 66,683 deaths last year, up from 47,165 in 2019, Spain’s national statistics agency INE said in a statement.

The Madrid region accounts for 14.3 percent of Spain’s population, of around 47 million, but it saw some 20 percent of the country’s total Covid-19 deaths.

It was especially hard hit by the first wave of the pandemic in March when officials used an ice-skating rink in the Spanish capital as a temporary mortuary for Covid-19 victims and set up a field hospital in the city’s conference centre.

Spain, one of Europe’s worst-hit countries, recorded around 50,000 deaths from Covid-19 in 2020, according to health ministry figures.

But the actual number of infections and fatalities is likely significantly higher because only seriously ill patients were tested during the first months of the pandemic because of a limited testing capacity.

Covid-19 has killed more than 80,000 people in Spain since the start of the pandemic, according to the health ministry.

The numbers of deaths and cases have fallen steeply in recent weeks as Spain´s vaccination programme has picked up.

Just over one in four people, 28 percent, in Spain have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

READ ALSO: Spain’s Covid-19 infection rate drops to its lowest in ten months

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