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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Los Angeles Zoo 1977

The North American Regional Studbook for the African Elephant lists the arrival of four 6 year old female African elephants from animal importer Jurgen Schulz on November 28, 1977. Josephine, Lolly, Sage and McClean are all listed as acquired by Schulz around 1974 before their sale to the California zoo three years later. According to studbook records, Josephine and Lolly were sold together approximately two years later to the Asian country of Taiwan. Sage and McClean resided together, along with other elephants of both species, in the Los Angeles Zoo elephant exhibit until the death of Sage in May 1984 and McClean in March 1986.

Gabe, Misty & Sage, Enchanted Village, 1976-77
Courtesy of D Wichert

A news article dated May 2007 brings to light follow-up information regarding the Taiwan-departed elephants.`
The Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung, south Taiwan, received two baby African elephants from a US zoo in 1979, believing they were a male and a female, the Taipei Times reported.

Since then, the Shoushan Zoo raised the two elephants, Ali and Annie, as a couple and even held a much-publicized wedding for them in 2002. Annie died in 2003.

Although Annie never gave birth, zookeepers apparently never suspected both animals were females because Ali, now 33 and weighing five tons, was larger, stronger and more violent than Annie.

The truth about Ali’s sexual identity came out after a crocodile at the Shoushan Zoo bit off the arm of a vet who was giving the animal anesthesia shots in order to treat its illness.

"Disastrous" Conditions at Taiwan Zoo"
Courtesy of

>> "Taiwan Zoo Faces Serious Sex Issues "," 05/03/2007

Given the similarity of names and departure information listed in the studbook, it seems Shoushan's 'Ali' is Los Angeles' 'Lolly,' and 'Annie' was 'Josephine.'

"An elephant named Ali being fed at the Shoushan zoo."
Courtesy of chineserose86,

Enchanted Village
The Enchanted Village opened in Buena Park in June 1976 on the grounds of the former Japanese Village and Deer Park. California animal man Ralph Helfer served as a partner, contributing a portion of the facility's population of African and Asian elephants, both males and females. The park went bankrupt, closing in fall 1977.

Dieter Wichert, elephant trainer for Ralph Helfer's Enchanted Village, states he had three African elephants on the property - a male Timba, a female Sage and another female (name unknown; the "freaky one"). He also recalled the animals possibly arrived from Maryland. If so, the animals were most likely acquired from Largo Wild Life Preserve, a drive-through safari park which opened in July 1974 and closed in 1978.

Courtesy of D Wichert

Following the park's closure, the departure information for these animals is unknown. Mr. Wichert shared an anecdote about visiting the Los Angeles Zoo circa 1984-1985 and identifying Sage, "seeing the holes in her left ear and she was larger then I had her."

With this information, Sage's final location is identified but many questions remain regarding the arrival of the three Africans to Enchanted Village and their departure as well. Were they originally owned by Jurgen Schulz and he retook possession of them following the park's bankruptcy? How many were relocated to the Los Angeles Zoo (only 21 miles from the facility)?

Timba, Enchanted Village, 1976-77
Courtesy of D Wichert

Timba, Enchanted Village, 1976-77
Courtesy of D Wichert

Sage, Enchanted Village, 1976-77
Courtesy of D Wichert


  1. Toby StylesMay 29, 2012

    Ryan, None of the stuff you sent rang any bells with me except Rex Williams had a female African bush elephant named McClain (may be different spelling) named after Walter McClain the Ringling elephant superintendent who was killed by a runaway wagon while loading the train. This was before Rex went to Vargas he had two Asiatic males Reid and (name just escaped me) at the same time.

  2. Toby, I'm Nerene from Eye On Toronto. I am flipping through a photo ablbum and looking at picture from the behind the scenes tour you took me and my family on several years ago. I remember how the eleephants recognized you and were so comfortable with you. in their compound. What were the elephants names?

  3. Toby StylesJune 25, 2012


    I did so many shows it is hard to be specific could be positive if I saw the pictures. Anyway here they all are.
    Tantor (the only male) Tara, Tessa, Tequila,Toka, Pat, Iringa, Juanita these were the originals that we brought over in 1974 Babies born Thika (still at zoo) Tumpe, Toronto and TW (who died shortly after birth). Thika, Iringa and Toka still at zoo but supposed to be moving soon. I think Juanita is still alive at the Cleveland Zoo (but under another name that I can't recall.

    Hope this helps


  4. Nerene,
    If you would like to share some of your photos for Toby to identify, I would love to post them here. Also, he has offered for me to pass on his phone number to you. Send me an email at TigerGuy[at]

  5. Hello, I am here to ask you if my photos of Star Tina and Makena at the Montgomery Zoo may go up? I have some pretty good ones, especially as Makena as a baby.. Contact me if interested


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.