Monday, June 11, 2012

From Jim Stockley--Very Interesting Theory about Amos and Soyza

The Circus "NO SPIN ZONE": National Zoological Garden Dehiwala, Sri Lanka 2011

Hello Wade,

Interesting question you pose on the blog regarding the elephant routine at the National Zoological Garden, Dehiwala, Sri Lanka ... "Where do you suppose these chap's acquired the skill to routine an elephant act?  Surely not in a logging camp."
...... we may have an answer for you ;-)

[I got this information from my cousin Mary Chipperfield (via her husband Roger Cawley) and I have to be careful how I tell the story without provoking a blizzard of questions from Radar ! ]

In 1947 my Uncle Dick Chipperfield went to Ceylon to buy elephants. Later my Aunt (Mary Chipperfield's mother) Rose Chipperfield also brought elephants from Ceylon.  Two Ceylonese boys (Amos and Soyza) came with the elephants and stayed in England for a while working with the elephants. Below is a picture of my late Mum, Marjorie (Chipperfield) Stockley working some of the elephants with Amos and Soyza riding them. Amos and Soyza probably helped Wenzel Kossmayer with all the elephant training.  

Roger says .... "When Mary Chipperfield made a documentary about elephants for the BBC in the 1970s she was taken to the zoo where we were surprised to find one of these men, Amos I believe, still there working with the elephants.    The zoo director allowed Mary to present the elephant act one morning.    She found all the commands were the same as used with the original Chipperfield's elephants so the elephants worked reasonably for her.    Probably the boys returning to the zoo from their time with Chipperfields may have had a hand in working out the tricks, having seen it all in England.? "


DanKoehl said...

By all means, Dehivela zoo mahouts benefitted from overseas elphant trainers, and why not during the years of Chipperfield imports to europe.

But Hagenbecks imported elephants from Sri Lanka already 1880, and according to Gröning, during 1866-1886 Hagenbeck imported over 300 Asian elephants, mny of them from Sri Lanka.

Dehivela garden in Colombo was founded by John Hagenbeck, halfbrother of Carl Hagenbeck, who went down to Sri Lanka to fetch elephants already in 1884, and lived most of his life in Sri Lanka, until his death 1940 in Diyatalawa internment camp in Colombo, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.

(More on John Hagenbeck:

John Hagenbecks first imports initiated the 1884 Carl Hagenbecks Ceylonkarawane and other Völker-shaus in Germany, when ships full with people and animals were transported to Germany from Sri Lanka.

Some of the mahouts stayed in Germany, but most of them returned to Sri Lanka.

In the case of Amos and Soyza, Ive seen different countries of origin, Sri Lanka and also Indonesia. Thier names are not typical Lankese mahout names.

Sri Lanka had over 50 years of culture exchange with european elephant trainers, when Dick Chipperfield arrived in 1947, why, although Chipperfields impact may have been important, probably hundreds of Lankese mahouts had already been in europe during völker shaus, or worked in Hagenbecks circus, why their was a certain influence already before.

Wade G. Burck said...

Great history lesson. Thank you for sharing. It's a good day, because I learned something new.