Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ghost Zoo--Lion Country Safari



Irvine  1970's   Radar, didn't the elephant on the left with the missing ear go to the San Diego Zoo?




Texas  1970's

4 comments:

Toby Styles said...

Wade : Elephant with the ripped ear was named Nyla came from Africa USA (Ralph Helfer) to Gene Holter with 2 males Bamboo and Congo. They all went to ALS Congo was sold to Dubbo Zoo Park in Australia and lived there for many years.
Her ear was damaged by another elephant, a nail in the barn wall, a very bad ear mite but I was assured not a "guide"
Toby

Ryan Easley said...

Wade,
I do not know, but you have me intrigued. I do not know of any (nor can I find records of) any elephants between either San Diego facility and the East Coast Lion Country Safari, nor do I recognize the ear.

The Lion Country Safari Park in Laguna Hills was one of the few facilities in the early 1980s with an African elephant breeding program. Two calves were sired by Congo, famous for his appearance in John Wayne's Hatari! Two unviable animals were born to Cita; Ruby/Rafiki gave birth to the only successful calf in 1980. This male was sold to Circus Vargas in 1983 and his mother the following year.

The California park was started with many animals purchased from the animal dealer Frank Thompson. From correspondence with Mr. Thompson, he sold them a large herd of African elephants supplied by the Dutch importer Frans van den Brink, the shipment arriving in New Jersey by boat in spring 1970. Hard to say if they are all identified, but there are 1.6 recorded elephants arriving in this shipment to California, plus one to Busch Gardens and one to Chicago.

This park was also responsible for the import of the 'Seven Dwarfs' before they were shipped to the sister park in Florida the same year. Smokey Jones reportedly did some training with this group of male and female Asians in California.

Ryan Easley said...

I stand corrected! Thank you Toby for the insight. Congo and Nyla were two of the 1.7 listed in the Studbook as the 'Bradenton' imports. Obviously we have some record updates here :)

The LCS females Ukali, Tano and Samama (as well as Nyla) are all listed in the Studbook as "Lost to Follow-up." There is no listing for Bamboo. Does anyone know what became of the other three females?

Ryan Easley said...

I contacted the Western Plains Zoo's Senior Elephant Keeper Roger Brogan. He sent me the following:

G'day Ryan,
Hey I only know of Congo and a cow called toto who came with him back then. Toto passed within a couple of years of her arrival, emc virus from memory. There has only ever been 6 Africans at dubbo in its entire history and we were the only facility to hold Africans to my knowledge.
Hope this helps :)