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

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Thousand Oaks - Sheba

Bandwagon magazine's Elephant Census, published in the March/April 1960 edition, lists a female Asian elephant "Sheba" at Auction City, Norwalk, California from 1952 to present. Sheba is listed acquired from Louis Goebel in Thousand Oaks, California.

Courtesy of dyingindowney on Flickr

Retired elephant trainer and historian Buckles Woodcock shares this photograph of an elephant named Sheba at Thousand Oaks, undated, with a notation she was sold to the Mexico City Zoo

Jungleland 1000 Oaks, Calif. presented by Ray Rodman.
Someone wrote on the back "sold to Mexico City Zoo"

Courtesy of Buckles Woodcock, Buckles Blog
Wade Burck shares the following postcard from Jungleland.
1961 Sheba and Bamboo II standing, unknown elephant laying down
Courtesy of Wade Buck, Circus No-Spin Zone
A few suppositions were brought up regarding identity of "Bamboo II" and "Sheba" in the above picture previously on Wade Burck's blog and ShowMe Elephants. The only Sheba possibility in the North American Regional Studbook for the Asian Elephant is the Cristiani Sheba, later sold to the Buffalo Zoo in New York and renamed Buki. New research discredits this possibility however. Joseph Bradbury shares in a 1960 Billboard that the Christiani's Sheba was purchased in winter 1959 for King Bros. Circus. Douglas Lyon mentions in a Billboard issue two years later she was acquired from a Vermont Animal Farm.

>> "Jungleland Mystery Photograph" at ShowMe Elephants

An interesting anecdote found regarding Jungleland's Sheba were the annual elephant races in which she participated. Several banners flew over the sport, including the "First Intercollegiate Elephant Race in Human History," "Jumbo Downs" and "Run For the Peanuts." College students staged the events in Long Beach, California. 15 elephants were rented from Jungleland, no more than four racing at a time for safety reasons. A local news article documents an unknown elephant "Kinney II" running off during the first annual event, precipitating the event's transfer to Los Alamitos Race Course in 1963. The races lasted a final year in 1964 before discontinued. No further information is available regarding Kinney II.

Sheba 1963
Courtesy of
Sheba's sale to Mexico can be followed with an email from Dagmar Gerdes of the Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón via Wayne Jackson. The correspondence documents that because the zoo did not keep records at the time, the origin of the zoo's Ciba is unknown. What was known is Ciba arrived in 1964 from a circus background in the United States. Some say she was donated by Americans after a political campaign of which she was the symbol; others say she derived from a zoo where she killed someone.

Ciba died January 16, 2009, announced at an estimated 70 years of age. With her found origins at Jungleland, the age was more likely at least a decade less.

Elephant house - Copyright © 09/2011 by Thilo Cardenas
Courtesy of
Elephant exhibit - Copyright © 09/2011 by Thilo Cardenas
Courtesy of

It is unknown if Auction City's Sheba is the same animal as Jungleland's Sheba to Mexico.

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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.