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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sedgwick County Zoo

Stephanie and Cinda were imported together from South Africa to Michigan in August 1972. They were then sold the next month to the Sedgwick County Zoo where they still reside together. The elephants are managed in free contact.

In February 2010, the Sedgwick County Zoo announced they would be building an eight foot tall cable and post fence to protect their two aging elephants from falling into the moat surrounding the 19,000 square foot exhibit yard. Both elephants were approaching forty years of age. The plans to build an improved and larger facility were postponed due to economic problems.

Cinda and Stephanie, mid-1970s.
Photo Courtesy of Friends of Stephanie and Cinda on Facebook

Cinda and Stephanie, mid-1970s.
Photo Courtesy of Friends of Stephanie and Cinda on Facebook

Sedgwick County Zoo 1
Cinda and Stephanie, July 1994.
Photo Courtesy of M Easley

"Stephanie, although the smaller of the two, has always been the dominant elephant. She is generally the first to enter or leave the outdoor yard and gets first choice of food. Stephanie seems to respond to tactile praise more than food rewards. Stephanie's favorite food item seems to be carrots as she will occasionally leave bananas, oranges and white potatoes behind. She also seems to enjoy walking backwards." //

Stephanie, September 2008.
Photo Courtesy of J Sentel

"Cinda is taller than Stephanie but has always been the submissive elephant of the two. She generally follows Stephanie when the elephants are called, allowing Stephanie to survey different situations first. Cinda enjoys food rewards and almost seems to rush through training so she can eat. Cinda spends more time than Stephanie using the exhibit pool and toys. Cinda doesn't really have any favorite food items as she enjoys eating everything." //

Cinda, September 2008.
Photo Courtesy of J Sentel

Cinda (Cynda, Mzuri), Female African, SB 117
1971 - Birth, South Africa
Aug 1972 - International Animal Exchange, Ferndale, Michigan
03 Sep 1972 - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas

Stephanie, Female African, SB 118
1971 - Birth, South Africa
Aug 1972 - International Animal Exchange, Ferndale, Michigan
03 Sep 1972 - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, Kansas

Additional Information
Sedgwick County Zoo Official Website:

Friends of Stephanie and Cinda on Facebook:

"Zoo adding safety barrier to protect aging elephants," 02/12/2010

"Sedgwick County Zoo considers new elephant exhibit," 03/20/2010

Update 05/07/2012
Jackson Byrd recently posted an analysis of two Kansas zoos, Sedgwick County and Topeka, in relation to the changes necessary the two facilities need to make to meet compliance with standards of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. His post can be found at his site 'Gorgeous in Gray.'

>> "Decisions, Decisions. Kansas has gotta make em’ (as well as the rest of the country),", 02/10/2012

Sedgwick County Zoo elephant herd
Photo Courtesy of gorgeousingray

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

National Elephant Center & Virginia Zoo

"Norfolk's three resident pachyderms will be among nearly 300 who will benefit from the creation fo the Natioanl Elephant Center in Okeechobee, Florida. The Center is slated to open in 2009 and will provide a wide variety of services aimed at protecting, preserving, and improving the lives of captive elephatns around the United States."

"The National Elephant Center is the result of a unique collaboration among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; individuals and organizations that care deeply about elephants; and Waste Management, a corporation committed to the environment and species conservation.

National Elephant Center is located on 300 acres owned by Waste Management in Okeechobee, Florida. It is adjacent to property that Waste Management maintains as a natural area certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council that provides food and nesting areas for threatened Florida sandhill cranes and several other endangered species. These protected areas ensure critical space for species under pressure, not unlike elephant populations that are endangered in Africa and Asia."

For more information regarding the National Elephant Center:

The National Elephant Center on YouTube:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bodhi, Columbus Zoo

Bodhi was born in April 2004, the first successful birth at the Columbus Zoo. He was born to Coco and seventeen year old Phoebe, an elephant originally born at the Ramat Gan Zoo in Israel. He has resided at the Columbus Zoo his entire life and is managed in protected contact.

Phoebe and Bodhi, October 2008.
Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Zoo on Facebook

Family History
In May 1993, Charlie Gray imported the pregnant sisters Phoebe and Lilly together from Ramat Gan for the African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Canada. Six year old Phoebe miscarried the calf (sired by her father) in November 1993. Eight year old Lilly gave birth to her calf Piccolo in December 1994 (sired by her full brother Alexander).

In October 1999, Phoebe gave birth to her first successful calf George in Canada, sired by Calvin before his tranfer to Germany in March 2000.

In January 2002, Phoebe was transferred to the Columbus Zoo to build a breeding program. She bred soon after with the zoo's thirty one year old bull Coco and gave birth to Bodhi in April 2004. She bred again and gave birth to Beco in March 2009.

"Swim and Spray," Bodhi and Phoebe, July 2005.
Photo Courtesy of Michelle Leighty

"Bodhi demonstrating to a Canada goose what being a young bull is all about," July 2010.
Photo Courtesy of Harry Peachey

Bodhi, Male Asian, SB 551
16 April 2004 - Birth at Columbus Zoo, Columbus, Ohio

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elephantastic! A Century of Pachydermic Pageantry

Clocking in at just under two full hours, this magnificent collection of all things pachyderm contains 28 different elephant acts (some partial and many complete), in addition to several additional accompanying vignettes filmed on various shows around the world. Among those featured in performance are trainers DANIEL SUSKOV working the Tarzan Zerbini elephants (1990) - OSCAR and MARIAN CRISTIANI, filmed in 1969 on Rudy Bros. Circus, in Honolulu - CHICO WILLIAMS and DELILAH WOODCOCK with “TOTO” the elephant, as captured on New York’s famous Big Apple Circus (1984) - KAYE'S HOLLYWOOD ELEPHANTS with Judy Kaye, also shot in Hawaii with the E.K. Fernandez Circus - BOBBY and ROSA GIBBS at Baraboo’s Circus World Museum in the mid-1970's - JEAN SCHMITT with the Ringling Barnum Circus World herd (Orlando, FL) - PHIL and FRANCINE SCACHT with “DONDI” from a Chicagoland TV special (1986); REX and AVA WILLIAMS with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. elephants on the 1967 TV show, "Coliseum" - BUCKLES and BARBARA WOODCOCK working the RBBB herd in 1978 - JENDE SMAHA with “Bertha” and “Tina” from a rare Hollywood Palace kinescope, and several others.

A number of global offerings are included, as well, such as KENNY BENNEWEIS and Denmark’s renowned Circus Benneweis elephants (1992) – the CEASAR TOGNI elephants, from a 1960's episode of Don Ameche's "Int'l Showtime" - MARY CHIPPERFIELD working a single elephant with a canine sidekick - BOBBY ROBERTS and the Robert Bros. Circus elephants from England, and so on.

An extreme rarity, also featured in this already top-heavy program, is a wonderful piece of vintage 16mm film showing MACK and PEGGY MacDONALD training the legendary Polack Bros. Circus “Beasalou Elephants” at their home, in San Antonio, Texas, in 1963. No spangles or make-up here: just fascinating, intimate footage never before seen, shot nearly fifty years ago. There is even a short clip of Mack and Peggy working with TOMMY HANNEFORD and baby “INA,” also in Texas.

ELEPHANTASTIC! is a compilation of privately shot 8mm, Super 8mm, and 16mm films, some of which date way back (i.e: a 1908 film of "Jumbo" the elephant, working on a vaudeville stage in Chicago), videotapes, and vintage television appearances from the U.S., Mexico, and Europe. Never before has there been such a comprehensive collection of outstanding, one-of-a-kind elephant footage offered! Break out the peanuts, sit back, and wrap yourself up in trunk-loads of tantalizing tricks!

This new compilation produced by Timothy N Tegge can be ordered online at for $19.95. A check or money order may also be sent to P.O. Box 661 - Baraboo, WI 53913. Make them out to either Circus Time video or Timothy Tegge. If you cannot see this for sale on the site yet, check back! This is a brand new release and should be available for viewing by Monday, December 13.

Additional information can also be found at and Buckles Web Log.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2009 Elephant Tour Beginnings

In 2009, I began my third year of employment at the car dealership with no anticipated plans of joining the zoo or circus industry. However, my fascination with elephants, their history and their management built a desire to visit as many elephant facilities as possible during my weekends and vacation time. I began the year visiting four circuses and three zoos in a two month period, viewing twenty four individual elephants. I also drafted a trip itinerary that filled nearly every weekend between May to October with plans to visit at least two zoos, circuses or a combination of both relative to which town I traveled.

On the date of my twenty first birthday, I traveled four hours to see the Kelly Miller Circus perform in Ava, Missouri, with my friend Crystal. It was there I met tiger trainer Casey Cainan. A month later, Casey offered me a job with the position of tiger groom, responsible for the daily care of his five tigers and all other tasks relating to the daily transportation and display of his tiger act. I accepted and joined the Kelly Miller Circus in late May - an ironic starting time for a worker the circus would refer to as a "First of May."

While on tour with the Kelly Miller Circus for my first year, I was able to visit a few facilities not before possible when I was based stationary in St. Louis. My previously drafted itinerary was discarded, though without regrets.

I will post my completed journey of 2009 now and document a short biography of each facility in the coming time. Following this display I will begin a story of my 2010 Elephant Tour. Finally, I will regress to my 2008 Elephant Tour, which though lighter than the others, I still viewed thirteen bulls and seven calves.

02/16 - Nashville Zoo, Nashville, TN. 0,3 Africans
03/20 - George Carden Circus International, Springfield, MO. 1,3 Asians
03/21 - George Carden Circus International, Springfield, MO. 1,3 Asians
03/22 - Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, MO. 1,4 Asians
03/22 - George Carden Circus International, Springfield, MO. 1,3 Asians
03/27 - Royal Hanneford Circus, St. Charles, MO. 1,4 Asians
03/28 - Royal Hanneford Circus, St. Charles, MO. 1,4 Asians
04/05 - Kelly Miller Circus, Ava, MO. 0,3 Asians.
04/06 - Kelly Miller Circus, Houston, MO. 0,3 Asians
04/08 - Kelly Miller Circus, Sullivan, MO. 0,3 Asians
04/18 - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS. 0,2 Africans
04/19 - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS. 0,2 Africans
04/19 - Hamid Circus, Wichita, KS. 0,3 Asians.
04/20 - Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita, KS. 0,2 Africans
05/19 - Natural Bridge Zoo, Natural Bridge, VA. 0,1 African
06/01 - Smithsonian National Zoo, Washington, DC. 1,2 Asians
06/23 - Southwick's Zoo, Mendon, MA. 0,1 Asian
08/06 - Toledo Zoo, Toledo, OH. 1,1 Africans
09/09 - Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, IL. 0,2 Africans
09/16 - Hawthorn Corporation, Chicago, IL.
09/26 - Circus Vazquez, Chicago, IL. 0,3 Asians
11/01 - Knoxville Zoo, Knoxville, TN. 1,2 Africans
11/26 - Hadi Shrine Circus, Evansville, IN. 0,11 Asians
12/05 - Carson & Barnes Circus, Tulsa, OK. 0,5 Asians
12/21 - Endangered Ark Foundation, Hugo, OK. 3,21 Asians. 0,1 Africans
12/29 - Animal Encounters, Kaufman, TX. 0,2 Africans

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tom Packs Elephants

The Tom Packs Elephants were considered the best trained elephant act of its time. Trained by elephant master Mac MacDonald, they represented the epitome of class and skill throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s. Originally trained as a group of five elephants for the Tom Packs Circus, four of the animals represent part of a larger group imported together in 1948. Another was added during the training period; several years later an elephant was replaced for medical reasons. The focus here is on the Tom Packs group, but will address in some detail their original shipmates as well.