Jumbo, the jumbo elephant
from: albany times union.com
September 15, 2012
In looking for a good elephant to write about, I started with Wikipedia’s List of Historical Elephants, and at that point I realized I would pretty much have a lifetime of material. You can start with Annabelle, known for her painting skills, and work your way down to Ziggy, named after Flo Ziegfield, whose famous confinement at the Brookfield Zoo led to protests in the early 1970s and the raising of money for his new outdoor facility.
In between, you’ve got Jumbo, the elephant P.T. Barnum bought in 1881 from the London Zoo for $10,000, despite letters of protest from 100,000 British schoolchildren to Queen Victoria, and whose skeleton is now in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History, and whose name has given us the word jumbo to mean “very large in size.”
And then there’s Mary, the only elephant known to be hanged, in Tennessee in 1916, as punishment for killing an elephant trainer. The picture of her hanging from a railcar-mounted industrial crane is as surreal and cruel as anything you could imagine.