Holidaymakers - mainly women, who tend not to cope with such events very well - at Blackpool were left in a state of shock yesterday when an African bull elephant became stranded on the beach, having been washed up by the incoming tide.
Most men present managed to retain an air of calm detachment, whereas many of the womenfolk flew into a blue funk and had to have smelling salts administered by the St John's Ambulance volunteers.
A number of long haired animal rights terrorists descended on the beach armed with buckets of water and brooms, which they used on the elephant in a bid to keep him cool, until he could be refloated on the next tide.
Arguments broke out between the animal rights chaps - the long haired types with the bleeding hearts - and a number of local butchers' apprentices, who arrived on scene armed with an array of sharp knives, intent on stocking their shops with succulent elephant meat.
The situation was compounded by the arrival at the scene of local demolition expert, Mills Bohm, a former Grenadier Guardsman, who declared intent to dynamite the stricken creature. Order was eventually restored when members of the local constabulary arrived, and managed to separate the rival factions.
It appears that, at some point, the stricken creature, which hitherto had been lying on its side, suddenly - according to reliable male eyewitnesses, as opposed to hysterical female eyewitnesses - clambered to its feet, strolled up the beach, and walked up a ramp to the promenade.
"It just ambled off as if it didn't have a care in the world," a witness stated. "It went up onto the promenade, crossed over the tramlines, then the shore road, and headed off in the direction of the zoo."
A spokesman from the constabulary later stated that the enormous beast had arrived safely at the zoological gardens, where it was taken in by staff, and is reported to be doing fine, in the elephant house, with a lady elephant for company.
It seems that nobody is quite certain how the elephant came to get washed up on the beach in the first instance, as nobody had reported an African bull elephant missing. At sea, or indeed anywhere else.
"We shall be maintaining a police presence at the zoo," the police spokesman added. "Just to be on the safe side. Those apprentice butchers don't give up easily, and there were quite a few of them loitering around, sharpening boning knives until well after the elephant's zoo induction."
More as we get it.