Sunday, September 27, 2009

King Tusk--December 22, 2002--57 years old

King Tusk's skull

20 comments:

Chic Silber said...

Tony Diano's TOMMY

Radar said...

Where is this skull kept?

Wade G. Burck said...

Radar,
The location is known to only a select few big time animal men. And we are sworn to secrecy. But, you can ask again in 30 years.
Wade

jerry digney said...

when was King Tusk retired from RBBB and when did he die. He stayed with Jimmy Silverlake in Indiana, right? I remember he developed a foot problem that they could never remedy. Magnificent animal, visited with Jimmy, who I've known for 40 years, when he had him on RBBB--kept him in separate quarters from other bulls.

Wade G. Burck said...

Jerry,
Dec. 22, 2002 is when the "largest living land mammal to walk the earth" died. I am not exactly sure the date he retired, and he was kept separate, when possible, in the tent attached to the truck, so that he could be "hidden" until the moment he entered the building. When the animal had to be in the building stabled, often he was stabled there also. Yes he did have severe foot problems, which I don't recall him having in the mid 70's when he was on the Texas Dates with us. I remember being woke up one night to go and "rescue" him on the picket line from one of my cow elephants, Tess. He had attempted to steal her hay, and she had him knocked back in the corner, trembling. LOL For all his beauty and majesty he was always a cream puff.
What an animal.
Wade

Radar said...

Wade,
Would the location have anything to do with Ms. Zerbini and the sign in front of the skull that says 'All About Elephants Inc?"

Wade G. Burck said...

Radar,
Now, didn't you use your resources, work at it, and learn something, instead of it just being given to you. I gave you a taste, which made you determined, threw you a hint, and you succeeded. Some would suggest that is being an ass, other's would suggest it is being a teacher. Not bad for a young putz.
Wade Burck

Chic Silber said...

This Elephant definitely had been

the "Tommy" from Tony Diano that

was handled by Lee Kiener for many

years although it might have also

been from Ben Davenport earlier

See attached from RBBB

Vienna, VA - December 22, 2002 - King Tusk, a 57-year-old male Asian elephant living in retirement with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, was humanely euthanized yesterday (Saturday, December 21). A magnificent and beautiful Asian elephant with 6-foot-long tusks, King Tusk was a star performer with Ringling Bros. in the 1980s and early 1990s. He passed away quietly at Ringling Bros. elephant retirement facility in northern Florida in the company of his pachyderm companions and human caretakers.
Also known as Tommy, King Tusk weighed more than 11,000 pounds, measured 10 feet at the tallest point of his back and 16 feet from tail to tusk tip and was thought to be the Largest Land Mammal Traveling the Face of the Earth while he was performing. In his later years, he developed osteoarthritis, a disease common in aging mammals from alpacas to humans to zebras. King Tusk reached a point where everyday movement was painful, and he had become unresponsive to treatment. The world's best veterinarians and elephant experts were consulted in King Tusk's care, and a number of treatment regimes were used to alleviate his discomfort. The veterinarians used a variety of anti-inflammatory medications, nutriceuticals, homeopathic remedies and acupuncture and designed customized exercise routines and living areas for him. Once King Tusk's quality of life declined, the veterinary team made the difficult but humane decision to euthanize him. A team of top veterinary and elephant experts conducted the post mortem exam Saturday.
Born in India and brought to the United States in 1945, it is unlikely that King Tusk would have lived beyond young adulthood in his native country since poachers would have killed him long ago for his 6-foot-long tusks that weighed more than 100 pounds each. Experts estimate that there are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants remaining in the world, and the two main threats to the survival of the species are habitat destruction and ivory poaching. King Tusk came out of retirement in 1998 to conduct a nation-wide tour to raise awareness of the plight of Asian elephants as a species.

Wade G. Burck said...

Chic,
What is the deal? The world knew who he used to be before he hit the big time. Because of that fame, he will always be King Tusk through eternity.
Wade

Chic Silber said...

To SOME of us he will always

be TOMMY ...

(ever heard of a "stage name"

Chic Silber said...

To SOME of us he will always be

TOMMY........

Ever hear of a "stage name"

Wade G. Burck said...

Chic,
Sure I have. For human actors/musicians who are actually on stage. For an actor I believe it is a screen name. For an animal such as Tusk, Tommy would be what is known as a barn name or stable name. To SOME of us he will always be King Tusk. I preferred him when he was treated like the King he was.
Wade

Chic Silber said...

This seems to accentuate the

difference in our ages

There are probably many more

folks younger than you than

older (with functioning recall)

that would agree with you

I wonder what Buckles or Jimmy

Hall would consider his name

Wade G. Burck said...

Chic,
Jimmy Hall and I are pretty close to the same age, and why in the world would I care what he or Buckles thought? As a rule, the reason someone wants to recall what it was before, is to give themselves a connection to it, or to insinuate that everything was/is better then Ringling Bros. of modern times. Understand Chic, I knew Tommy before he was King Tusk also. Worked many dates with the magnificent creature. Trust and understand, as an Animal Trainer/Welfare Advocate I have seen things you may not have been privy to. Trust and understand, that maybe I saw thing's that made me happy for him the day he became King Tusk. Understand that out of respect for him, and his good fortune, and what he became, not what he was, I will remember him as King Tusk.
Wade Burck

Anonymous said...

He will always be Tommy to me. I think when and how you knew him dictates how you respect his memory. I wouldn't make anyone else call him Tommy but I don't look up on my wall and say "there's me and my King Tusk" I'm sure he's happy to be appreciated to this day by any name. There's my 2 cents. And I was very connected to Tommy. T.K. O'Dell (yes.... THAT O'Dell)

Wade G. Burck said...

Anonymous,
That "O'Dell?" If that is the case, then you indeed can remember him as Tommy. But he reached his "spectacular something" as King Tusk and I prefer to remember the nobility of a King.

Wade

Wade G. Burck said...

Addendum to T.K. O'Dell,
I would be appreciative of any insight you might be gracious enough to share with us, about the great Tommy/King Tusk in his early day.

Wade

Anonymous said...

Thank you. My memories are truly reality mixed with a child's perception so I'd be of little use. I agree with you about royalty though. There will be no other like Tommy / King Tusk. Thank you for responding Mr. Burck.
TKO

Wade G. Burck said...

Mr. O'Dell,
Thank you for commenting. It is indeed a pleasure and honor to have to on these pages.

Wade

Wade G. Burck said...

O'Dell,
I have given you a few day's to
rebut, but I suppose that is hard. I bet you were happy to see Tommy when he passed through those pearly gates, weren't you.

Wade