Monday, April 30, 2012

Toledo Zoo Polar Bear Skull Graphic

The Circus Animals' Nutrition

The Austerity Kitchen
Sept. 2011

 Of those who could claim to have rested their head on a lion's lower jaw, Isaac van Amburgh, above, was the first. An intrepid animal trainer, Van Amburgh was said to have been unmatched in his feats of derring-do. He and his pride of tamed felines became something of an international sensation, commanding the attention of no less estimable a personage than Queen Victoria, who commissioned a portrait of him, so impressed was she by his talents. Others among the great and good stood equally astounded. The Duke of Wellington was reported to have asked Van Amburgh, "Were you ever afraid?," to which the celebrated lion tamer responded, "The first time I am afraid, your grace, or that I fancy my pupils are no longer afraid of me, I shall retire from the wild beast line."

 Whether real or feigned, the fearlessness displayed by Van Amburgh remained a crucial element of his success. Doubters suspected, however, that more than courage lay behind the animal tamer's art. Some suspected that Van Amburgh kept his cats in line by means of a crowbar. It's likelier that he employed a method similar to that described by Thomas Frost in his 1875 book, Circus Life and Circus Celebrities. Frost reveals that a wise lion tamer procures his "beasts as young as he can" and wins their trust by feeding them with his own hands, first from the outside of their den, and then at closer quarters, all the while taking care to face them in order to keep in check a "dormant devil" residing in their breasts. Once a measure of trust has been won, the tamer essays a caress, stroking the cat "down the back, gradually working up to the head, which he begins to scratch." The lion responds as all cats do by rubbing his head against the tamer's hand. At this point, the tamer introduces a board and teaches the lion to jump over it.

Only once the tamer has won this trust can he attempt the showstopping feat of placing his head between the animal's teeth. Gentle lashes on the back with "a small tickling whip" condition the lion to receive his mouthful. The tamer then "press[es] him down with one hand," and with the other raises the lion's head. Taking hold of its nostril with the right hand and the under lip with the left, he parts the creature's jaws and places his head between. The perils attending his vulnerable position do not end with a possible bite; he must also ensure that the lion does not claw his face. How such an expert lion tamer as Van Amburgh achieves stardom is thus plain to see.

The marquee attractions of Victorian circuses, felines commanded the lion's share of top-quality food. The menu du jour of Alexander Fairgrieve's famous traveling menagerie offers some sense of the pecking order among the various animals. Elephants had to content themselves with "hay, cabbages, bread and boiled rice, sweetened with sugar" while the big cats feasted on "shins, hearts, and heads of bullocks." So much meat did the lions and tigers of the great circuses consume, in fact, that their fellow carnivores the bears were forced to await the onset of "very cold weather" before they were similarly provisioned. Until such time, they subsisted on bread, sopped biscuits, and boiled rice.

To be an ursine understudy to feline stars was a sad fate, indeed. Should you wish to express dietary soliditary with the dancing bears of Victorian circuses, this recipe for boiled rice with cheese, which appears in The Helping Hand Cook Book (1912), will have you looking forward to winter's chill.

Boiled Rice with Cheese

Boil a cupful of rice in plenty of boiling water. Two quarts is none too much and the water must be at a galloping boil when the rice goes in and continue at the same stage during the fifteen minutes or so required to cook it. Each grain of rice should be separate and soft, though not too soft. Drain and dry and turn into a heated vegetable dish. Have ready a cupful of white sauce, made by cooking together a tablespoonful, each, of butter and flour and a half pint of milk and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Add to this a heaping tablespoonful of grated cheese and when this is melted and blended, stir it into the rice. Sprinkle another spoonful of grated cheese over the top of the rice and set the dish in the oven for five minutes before it goes to table.

This Is the Start of A Nice Menagerie Blog/Website I Happened Across.

 George Wombwell was invited to Windsor Castle and the Menagerie was visited by Queen Vicitria together with members of the Royal family. The following image is of a hand painted print produced by G. Webb and Co., 9 Snow Hill, London circa 1848-50 (Engraving or Lithotype, 39"x31"). The representation followed newspaper reports and sketches published November 1847.

Website for this image

This website is dedicated to the Travelling Menagerie and in particular (but not exclusively) George Wombwell, the most famous Victorian showman and Menagerist. It will eventually contain many verified resources. The story of Travelling Menageries and George Wombwell are difficult tales to tell since hitherto there have not been a great deal of reliable sources of information regarding Wombwell other than anecdotes and various forms of misinformation. The site will take many months or even years to materialise in a form that the authors are happy to publish. If you have anything to contribute then please get in touch with me at

Lucy the elephant to stay in Edmonton. Supreme Court will not hear appeal over moving elephant


The Supreme Court of Canada will not be getting involved in a fight over a 36-year-old Asian elephant in an Edmonton zoo.

The high court has decided it won't hear an animal rights group's appeal in an ongoing campaign to have Lucy moved to a warm-weather wildlife sanctuary in the U.S.
"While the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s long term goal is not to house elephants, the City of Edmonton will continue to make decisions in the best interest of Lucy — an individual animal with individual needs," said city solicitor Steven Phipps.
"Given Lucy’s complex and unique respiratory condition, an internationally respected elephant expert has clearly stated the best course of action is for Lucy to remain in Edmonton," he said in a press release Thursday.
City officials have said Lucy has manageable health issues, but a breathing problem could be life-threatening during the stress of a move.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Zoocheck wanted to sue the City of Edmonton over its refusal to move Lucy.
The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the action in 2010. That decision was upheld in a split decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal last August.
One of the appeal court justices wrote a dissenting opinion, saying the groups should have public standing in the matter and it should go to trial.
The Supreme Court, which does not provide reasons behind its decisions, rejected hearing the appeal.

Courtesy of John Goodall, Ken Kawata, and Gary Payne.  Literally withing seconds of each other.

'I see where another " internationally respected elephant expert" has surfaced.   Is there a stud farm somewhere that is producing " internationally respected elephant experts?"   They sure keep popping up lately.   Surprisingly many of them do not have name's yet.   I wonder why they don't have one of those goofy "name the baby" contest's, before they are allowed out of the foaling pen, and into the world of "internationally respected expert's."  In the world of elephants I have found that an "internationally respected elephant expert" is the person agreeing with your position...........

Bob Barker threatens to pull back money to transfer Toronto Zoo elephants

An elephant throws dirt at the Toronto Zoo. The Toronto elephants’ departure for California — originally set for Monday — appears increasingly doubtful.

Fed up with the “shenanigans” of Toronto Zoo management, Bob Barker is backing off his commitment to donate $880,000 to fly the zoo’s three African elephants to a California retirement home — unless there’s an “ironclad guarantee” about the use of his money.
In the latest chapter of a venomous struggle over the fate of the aging elephants, Barker told the Star he’s still fully committed to paying for the flight to take Iringa, 42, Toka, 42 and Thika, 31, to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), near Sacramento.
“But I think these people are capable of anything and I’m just not willing to lose a million dollars because of what’s going on up there,” he said in an interview from Los Angeles. “I fear they’d do anything to sabotage the transfer.”
The elephants’ departure — originally set for Monday — appears increasingly doubtful.
The situation is so ugly Toronto Zoo chief executive John Tracogna speaks to PAWS director Ed Stewart only through his lawyer and has forbidden sanctuary staffers from contacting zoo workers. PAWS directors want future meetings with zoo management recorded due to allegedly toxic personal comments in past sessions.
Included in the debate have been false accusations that PAWS elephants have TB and caustic Facebook posts, including by zookeepers, hurling insults at Stewart and city councillors who back the move. One called Stewart “an evil, lying man.”
And now Barker’s no-strings-attached promise of $880,000 to fund the trip has hardened into a decision the money must either be put in escrow or underwritten by the City of Toronto to ensure it’s used properly and he’s not out-of-pocket. More lawyers, more accountants.
Barker insists “this nonsense” doesn’t reflect on the city. “I love Canada and Toronto and I have a stack of letters from Canadians thanking me and apologizing for the zoo’s actions . . . I know the vast majority of people are 100 per cent on the side of PAWS.”
At the heart of this story are three elephants who live on just over a hectare at the Toronto Zoo, six months after council voted to send them to PAWS. The world-renowned sanctuary is accredited by, among others, the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Unlike zoos, PAWS is not allowed to breed its elephants, or allow any kind of research or transfers to other institutions.
“I am repulsed by what’s going on in Toronto’s name. Their behaviour is abhorrent,” says Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who spearheaded last October’s council vote. “It is outrageous, scandalous and the ones who suffer will be the elephants.

Related: Bob Barker donates $800K toward elephant flight from Toronto Zoo to California
“It’s clear that zoo management never had any intention of sending the elephants to the sanctuary and they’ve been using a propaganda war and smear campaign to dig in from the beginning and thwart the will of council.”
Tracogna hasn’t yet reviewed the history of PAWS’ elephants — the “due diligence” referred to in the contract — and his lawyer, City of Toronto solicitor Robert Ashley, is dickering over terms under which he might do so. He hinted his team will go back to council to try and get the decision reversed if they find anything “significant (about PAWS) . . . that council was not made aware of.”
They appear to be beating the bushes to find it.
Dr. William Rapley, a vet and the zoo’s executive director of conservation, education and wildlife, recently called the California Fish and Wildlife Association, among other groups, asking for an investigation into PAWS. Apparently he was told the association has high regard for Stewart and his work. “No, it doesn’t say we can do that in the contract,” said Tracogna. “But it doesn’t say we can’t do it either.”
It seems unlikely that Rapley would sign off on a good assessment of PAWS.
Tracogna told the Star he declined to participate in a recent conference call with Stewart on Ashley’s advice. That’s when Stewart began to lose hope about welcoming Iringa, Toka and Thika at PAWS, despite having already sent crates to Toronto to train them for air travel.
From California, Stewart sounds weary in a telephone interview: “All we’ve ever done is offer these elephants a new home. But it seems to us there’s a witch hunt being carried out against us . . . We’ve never seen anything like this in all of our dealings with other cities and organizations.
“You’re up there. Please, can you tell me — Who’s in charge?
Berardinetti says it’s perfectly clear who’s in charge: The City of Toronto owns the zoo and the animals, and the staffers are city employees, including Tracogna. She says she’s tired of a city agency that does as it pleases, and worries another winter will go by without the animals leaving.
Toronto’s elephant trainers, who think their “ladies” are happiest with humans, have fought the move.
“I would never question Toronto’s elephant keepers and I am confident they are giving these elephants the best possible care. That has never been in doubt,” says Stewart.
“Elephants don’t really fit anywhere in captivity. If you see elephants in the wild, there’s no comparison with how they are in captivity in terms of quality of life. That’s the first and most important point.”
But if they must be captive, world-renowned experts rave about PAWS, with its heated barn and jacuzzi on more than 30 hectares of rolling grasslands, with a mud pond, lakes and 24-hour veterinary care.
Cynthia Moss, director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants in Kenya, wrote council last fall: “I have been to PAWS several times and I am always immensely impressed watching those elephants looking and acting like free-ranging elephants in Africa and Asia.
“Everything about their postures and behaviours (and I am an expert on elephant behavior) indicate contentment and well-being. It is truly amazing what happens to elephants when they go to PAWS.”
A slim ray of hope appeared late Friday.
Berardinetti challenged Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who went public with concerns about the sanctuary, to go to PAWS with her next week (on their own dime) to tour “this world-renowned facility and meet with the professional staff and follow up on due digligence.” She thinks Tracogna should join the trip.
Mammoliti told the Star: “I’m going to seriously try and take her up on her offer. I have a tonne of questions and I would go to PAWS specifically to have them answered. I owe it to everybody to see for myself.
“It’s a must for Tracogna to join us,” he said.
Mammoliti says he, too, has been disgusted by politics swirling around the elephants but he blames zoo staffers, rather than management, adding: “It’s primarily all about politics.”
Meanwhile, Barker is hopeful he’ll have to come up with that $880,000 after all.
He says nobody thought Maggie, an ailing African elephant from the Anchorage Zoo in Alaska, sent to PAWS in 2007, would do well. Zoo director Pat Lampi, who fought the transfer, is now PAWS’ biggest supporter.
Before ringing off, Barker enthused: “You know that Maggie had fallen down in Alaska and couldn’t even get up. Now she’s the star of the show. She goes everywhere and she trumpets all the time to let everybody know just what she thinks. It’s wonderful.”
Maggie spends her days with three other African females — the herd destined to welcome Toronto’s own three divas. If politics allow.

More on the Star:

The Toronto Zoo’s departing elephants have squashed its accreditation. Thanks, Bob Barker.

Toronto Zoo loses accreditation over plan to ship elephants to sanctuary

Bob Barker donates $800K toward elephant flight from Toronto Zoo to California

Courtesy of Toby Styles

This is going to be the last word printed on these pages regarding the Toronto Zoo elephants, unless something real earth shattering comes up.  Frankly, I am bored, and tired of all the nonsense.  I have posted all side's of the story on these pages, so that folks following along can make a valid decision on who's right and who's wrong.   I also wanted folks to understand the true "insanity" that has become "elephant issues."  Just nut's in a world at war!!!!!!! 

To paraphrase a hit single of one of the greatest singer/song writers of all time Waylon Jennings "Don't You Think This Elephant Bit's Done Got Out of Hand?"

No More Accident's. The "Nuremberg Defense" has now been discovered: Elephant Was Following Circus Order!!!!

A witness to the fatal accident at Franklin Zoo says the elephant was triggered to kneel down, crushing her keeper, by what appeared to be a misinterpreted circus command: "down".
"Put me down, Mila," the keeper, Dr Helen Schofield, was heard saying as she patted the elephant's head.
Mila obeyed by going down on her knees - crushing Dr Schofield.
"The elephant didn't attack the lady. The elephant was in a circus mode. It was following commands," said the zoo visitor, who did not want to be named.
He said the elephant had seemed to him to have acted as if she were performing a circus trick.
Dr Schofield, Franklin Zoo's owner and director, was killed on Anzac Day after two years' nursing the animal with the hope of getting her into an overseas sanctuary.
Authorities and animal welfare groups are now working out the future for the elephant, who was born in Africa before being taken into zoos in London and Honolulu.

She later spent 30 years in a New Zealand circus.
The witness said he wanted to dispel any impression that Mila had any problems under Dr Schofield's care.
An electric fence, which was earlier raised as the possible source of Mila's agitation on the day, was not near the pair, he said. And Dr Schofield had not run - she slowly backed away once she realised that being in the enclosure was not safe.
He did not know why the elephant picked up Dr Schofield, he said.
The witness, for whom English is a second language, gave a clarifying statement to police about what happened.
Auckland Zoo senior vet Richard Jakob-Hoff said elephants were intelligent animals with all the range of emotions that people had.
But their sheer size made them dangerous, and Auckland Zoo's female elephant, Burma, had been taught her instructions in Hindi to avoid inadvertent commands, Dr Jakob-Hoff said.
Mila was born in the wild in 1973, but at nine months she was taken into captivity at London Zoo. She ended up at Honolulu Zoo for a brief period before the Whirling Brothers Circus brought her to New Zealand in 1978.
Her then-owner, Tony Ratcliffe, said Mila had been bullied by another elephant in Honolulu.
Despite receiving criticism from animal activist groups, Mr Ratcliffe recalls positively the elephant's 30 years' touring with the circus under her stage name Jumbo.
When Mila was retired Mr Ratcliffe tried to get Mila into a zoo here or in Australia but could not find a space.
So she spent two years with another circus as a "walk-on" special guest - without performing tricks - before Dr Schofield was able to take her into Franklin Zoo in late 2009.
Dr Schofield bought the zoo in 2005 when it was in need of a new owner and she saw its animals wanting for better care.
She told Radio New Zealand two years ago that Mr Ratcliffe had been "fantastic" during Mila's transition to the Franklin Zoo.
The elephant was described as "jumpy" when she arrived but is said to have become pacified under Dr Schofield's care.
Auckland Zoo staff are helping care for Mila, while the SPCA and the Ministry for Agriculture and Fisheries are trying to work out her future.
Dr Schofield had been in talks with California-based sanctuary Paws, which said Mila was still welcome.

Courtesy of Jim Stockley

'Jim Stockley will be forever credited with discovering the brilliant "Nuremberg Defense" for elephants,(I can see it working for Killer Whales as well) thus eliminating the need for accidents, which has been viewed skeptically by real expert's of animal behavior around the world:

A witness to the fatal accident at Franklin Zoo says the elephant was triggered to kneel down, crushing her keeper, by what appeared to be a misinterpreted circus command: "down".
"Put me down, Mila," the keeper, Dr Helen Schofield, was heard saying as she patted the elephant's head.
Mila obeyed by going down on her knees - crushing Dr Schofield.
The elephant didn't attack the lady. The elephant was in a circus mode. It was following commands............'

Superior Order, often called the Nuremberg Defense is a plea in a court of law that a soldier not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior officer.  The superior orders plea is similar to the doctrine of respondeat superior in tort law where a superior is held liable for the actions of a subordinate, and the subordinate may escape liability.  The superior orders plea is often regarded as the complement to Command Responsibility.

Here are two major problems with the Nuremberg Defense, unless an elephant attack can be declared a military action, and depending on what country/state the trial is held.  First, respondeat superior states that, in many circumstances, an employer is responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment.  This rule is also called the "Master-Servant Rule", recognized in both common law and civil law jurisdictions.   So who was responsible for Jumbo/Mila's actions?  Past employer the circus, or currently employer the Franklin zoo?  Second, Command Responsibility.  Who was in command of Jumbo/Mila that day?  Who gave the command/order, Tony Ratcliffe or Dr Schofield, regardless of what Jumbo/Mila "misinterpreted?"

 Auckland Zoo senior vet Richard Jakob-Hoff is already trying to delay any future proceedings by saying   Auckland Zoo's female elephant, Burma, had been taught her instructions in Hindi to avoid inadvertent commands(First of all that is bs, and that is not why she was taught Hindu commands.  She was taught Hindu commands, for the same reason GGW's elephants were taught German Commands.  It was the trainers language.  My current group of "Mexican" tigers don't comprehend a word of Spanish.)  Regardless, what the good Dr. has evoked is extempore simultaneous interpretation, and as English is the key witness's second language, regardless of the "Hindu" bs, he may have an argument.   The Nuremberg Trials employed four official languages: English, German, French, and Russian.  In order to address the complex linguistic issues that clouded over the proceedings, interpretation  and translation departments had to be established. However, it was feared that consecutive interpretation would slow down the proceedings significantly. What is therefore unique in both the Nuremberg tribunals and history of the interpretation profession was the introduction of an entirely new technique, extempore simultaneous interpretation. This technique of interpretation requires the interpreter to listen to a speaker in a source (or passive) language and orally translate that speech into another language in real time, that is, simultaneously, through headsets and microphones.'

Other witness's saw this:

 Mila put her head down and advanced, slowly at first, but then with increasing speed. Dr Schofield turned and ran - but tripped about a metre from the enclosure's exit.

The Herald understands Mila, who is estimated to weigh three tonnes, used her trunk to pull her back by the leg, wrapped her trunk around the vet's midsection, and picked her up.
Onlookers said Dr Schofield was able to speak and calmly called the command to put her down.
Mila eventually knelt and pushed her trunk down on a bank in the enclosure, as Dr Schofield asked to be let go.
When Mila finally released her she was still talking and was seen to move. Mila backed away but then moved towards her again and repeatedly brushed her trunk up against her - and she didn't move again.

'With the exception of "brushed", slammed being more appropriate, anybody who has been the recipient of an elephant head stand,( I have been the "lucky" recipient of 3 of the sob's) will know exactly what these witness's just described.   An elephant with it's head down, trunk curled back is like a cocked pistol.  It has one intent, and one intent only.  Discharge.  It is not an accident, it is 100% intent. '

  1. Vet tripped fleeing charging elephant
  2. Ex-owner: 'Ignorance' killed keeper
  3. Claim elephant mentally damaged
  4. Vet crushed to death by elephant