Friday, April 6, 2012

For Bjorn--Morgan Berry and Eloise Berchtold

FYI, don't think for a moment that the elephant was "protecting" anybody. That's as confused as saying it was an accident.

Cowlitz County Law Enforcment History Project: The Elephant, the ...

Backstory: Sternfeld's Elephant

THE ELEPHANT LADY 04/28/1985 | Archives | ...

Does anyone know if Lucille Sweeney is still at the Houston Zoo? A more dedicated, hard working elephant professional you would never meet. Much different then today's keepers. Lucille would get her hand's dirty. I first met Lucille when she invited Bucky Steele and I out to the Houston Zoo in 1978 when we were on the Texas Dates, to see Han's who was the male elephant at the Houston zoo at the time, and reported to be the largest male in an American zoo. He was huge, but had short stubby tusks which he had wore down on the walls of his "enclosure." The bull barn at Houston at the time was just a small square brick bunker, with 18 inch wide slit's in the wall called "keeper doors." Bucky and I didn't want to go inside as it was very small and Han's filled it up, but Lucille finally "shamed" us into entering, which we both did, but stood with our backs pressed to the wall. Lucille was pranking with Han's, hanging on his tusk's and having him lift her up. Suddenly, some pigeons flew out of the rafters, and Han's threw his head in the air and bellowed. In a sec. Bucky and I hit that 18 inch "keeper door" two abreast and got jammed between it. We pushed, shoved, and scampered to get out of the room and finally I fell out on the ground with Buck on top of me. It was each man for himself, no friends in this kind of a situation. Lucille was flabbergast that the two elephant trainers from the circus were so terrified of her "little Hannsie." A great dedicated female keeper. Another of that kind was Pat Sass, Primate keeper at Lincoln Park, and an anonymous contributor to CircusNOSpin from the Toronto Zoo.

1 comment:

Ryan Easley said...

I think I heard she died? My dad told me a similar story, but it was her with Thai. A frail little lady who would get around him with only a rake. No one else would go near him.