Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Washington Park Children's Zoo - Indianapolis

Indianapolis' first zoo opened in 1964 and exhibited animals until its closure and subsequent transfer to a new site in 1988. This facility first exhibited Asian elephants, before switching to African elephants. Generally speaking, only a single elephant was exhibited with a few instances of two for short time periods.

"Tumthong, a baby Asiatic elephant born in Laos and shipped here by air, was bought for the Zoo with the pennies, nickels and dimes contributed by thousands of school children."
Courtesy of Circus No-Spin Zone

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bernstein Park Zoo

The Bernstein Park Zoo, fomerly located in Monroe, Louisiana, was shut down in 1967 for renovation. It reopened as the Louisiana Purchase Zoo.

A November 1969 news article states the Bernstein Park's elephant died recently. No further information is found regarding the identity or history of this animal. A 1963 news article describes the Elephant House as a "recent development." The 1969 article also references a new elephant is slated to arrive to replace its predesser. Information is only available on two elephants for this facility prior to the discovery of this news article - Michelle and Shirley.

The female Asian elephant Michelle is listed in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant with a death date of ~1975. The Murray Hill records compilation lists a more accurate date of July 1974 due to severe arthritis. No further information is available regarding the history of this elephant.

Shirley's history is well-documented from her arrival to the Al G. Kelly-Miller Bros. Circus in 1954 to her eventual retirement to the Louisiana Purchase Zoo in 1977 and relocation to The Elephant Sanctuary in 1999 where she resides to this day.

Shirley w/ keeper Solomon James
Louisiana Purchase Zoo

Further information is sought regarding Michelle and her predecessor.

>> Monroe Morning World 12/29/1963
>> Monroe Star 11/12/1969

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rudy Bros. Circus 1973

The following photos, taken by James Cole, were taken on Rudy Bros. Circus in 1973 in Boston, Massachusetts. Pictured are Eloise Berchtold in Ring 3, Morgan Berry in Center Ring and ( believed to be ) Judy Jacobs in Ring 1.

Morgan Berry's infamous all-male elephant act at this time consisted of Teak, Thai, Tunga, Buddah and Ranchipur. He owned another male Asian Sahib who, per the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant, was on loan to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon, for a ride contract. His female Asian Abbey / Me Thai was leased to Hartzell Bros. Circus per the recent research of Bob Cline.

The African elephanrs worked by Eloise, also owned by Berry, consisted of two females and a male - Owala, Shambi and Durga.

The presumed Jacobs elephants would be Dolly and Dumbo. Tina died the previous year in Canada. Peggy was purchased the following month from DR Miller's Carson & Barnes Circus.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pittsburgh Zoo Elephant Ride 1985

Can anyone tell me who this elephant "Daisy" is at the Pittsburgh Zoo, offering elephant rides for the summer of 1985 ? She is with handler Mike Wilson. Was this a contracted ride or in-house ?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Highland Park Zoo - Part I

The Pittsburgh Zoo has a long history of housing and exhibiting Asian elephants prior to their currently successful African elephant breeding program. Unfortunately, very little of this history is recorded in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant. Referencing archived news records of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and others, more insight can be found regarding the Highland Park Zoo's early elephant history.

Friday, December 20, 2013

St. Louis Zoo - Eleanor

The story starts in 1955, with eight elephants imported by Louis Goebel and purchased by Anheuser Busch for the St. Louis Zoo. The new animals were to be trained by Floyd Smith and presented to the public in daily shows, a testament to the Polack act trained by Mac MacDonald. Within five years, three of the group were sold. The first, Eleanor, was sold to the Weed Park Zoo in Muscatine, Iowa, in September 1959.
OpLink - History review (original record card / ks)
0/8 purchased from Louis Goebel Wild Animal Farm ($3,500 ea. price plus insurance, $28,000 total) with funds donated by Anheuser-Busch Charitable Trust. 0/4 arrived at Goebel in May 1954 and another 0/4 in October 1954, where they remained for training by Zoo elephant trainer, Floyd Smith, until being trucked to the Zoo by Anheuser-Busch.

Postcard 4, St Louis Zoo
Postcard Courtesy of S Hoss

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Erie Zoo - Tom Boy

Wayne Jackson recently submitted a photo to ShowMe Elephants looking to identify the animal and facility. With the help of former Erie Zoo elephant keeper Kris Hopkins, the photo was identified as Shani of the Erie Zoo. A multiple part series featuring the elephant history of the Erie Zoo will begin, with many animals needing further information to complete their stories.

>> "Erie Zoo" at ShowMe Elephants

According to Erie Zoo spokesman Scott Mitchell, former Erie radio personality Barry Grossman once made the profound observation, "Erie people often identify their generation by the elephant at the zoo at the time they were growing up."