Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dalia--Buenos Aires Zoo


The commanding officer ordered "Fire " and a platoon of Guards Security Police Capital, executed the order without blinking. For sixty minutes the Mauser rifles were primed on the body of the defendant : the Dalia elephant, sentenced to death by the Zoo Director , Adolfo Maria " Dago " Holmberg, in punishment for his desperate attempt to escape to freedom.
This incredible story "of love, madness and death," which seems taken from a story by Horacio Quiroga or a novel by Rudyard Kipling, began in the lush jungle of South India around 1883 , when the small Dalia was born .Male elephant - in spite of his name , Dalia was educated by his mother until age 18 , when he had shed his tutelage to follow the herd . Due to their remarkable intelligence learned there the basics of subsistence, such as the precaution of testing indigestible fruit or how to get a night shelter .He spent 20 hours a day to provide their food , consisting of 50 kilograms per day of herbs, twigs , shrubs , buds , leaves and fruit , and when I felt like running , the inhabitants of the jungle stood aside to see happen to the gigantic mass five tons and three meters high , making the earth tremble under their feet to the fantastic speed of 40 kilometers per hour.

But that free and natural life was cut short in 1922 when he was captured and sent with a female companion to be incarcerated in the Zoological Garden of Buenos Aires. This abrupt habitat alteration meant changing the jungle of his early years by the Hindu Temple ( Elephant House )
" ... Large round building with pure Indian style , copy Nimaschi temple of the goddess , from the time of Rajah Tirumal , in this building , statues, bas-reliefs and inscriptions that decorate it are taken from the most famous religious monuments India . The column statues represent a main front Kartikeya , fac - simile of which exists in the temple and the other Raghanati Bhuwaneswor , fac - simile of the statue of the temple dedicated to the same god . "The idols of niches located above the doors are fac - similes Pagoda Modura , the bas-reliefs on the sides represent a stage hand drawn from the Veda and Rig- Veda , the other side are religious issues related to Siva and Vishnu , the inscriptions are copied from authentic documents ( edicts of Asoka ) , low relief Bharhut . It was designed by architect Cestari . The inner part is 700 square meters and 1200 meters the corral . "

But grossly inadequate to accommodate living, a very beautiful and of unquestionable artistic value building. In 1936, Dalia was there "victim of the air currents so abundant in the pavilion that housed, suffering two rheumatic attacks improved with increasing temperature."
The corral was completed with a fence armed with strong bars, although low-rise, at that time, there was no actual perimeter moat.
Dalia's ear was so sensitive I could hear sounds generated within 50 square kilometers, capacity in the city of Buenos Aires meant no little torment. He learned to use his trunk-body-in muscle multipurpose childhood, when his mother caressed her, or when I was young of whack if he misbehaved. In love, she linked up with her ​​partner, and the danger, shaking horizontally, indicating threat, but when he stood at the sky, it was a sign of attack.

With that same soil collected horn to his mouth and cookies and candies that they threw their friends, the kids , who enjoyed taking a ride on his big back, as can be seen in photographs of magazines of the time . The newspaper La Nacion , in its issue of 20/5/43 , acknowledged that Dalia " was one of the best attractions of the zoo ."After the death of his partner in 1938 brought the zoo to Cango , a young female of five, who soon became the elephant couple of the widower , 55 years old.Dalia belonged to the family of the world 's largest land mammals . Despite its size was peaceful and docile nature . His species can be tamed into an apprenticeship of three years in which to learn to obey 24 different orders , thanks to his outstanding intelligence and memory .His new life for 21 years then passed without leaving the small space provided, unable to cool off in a river, without traversing the jungles of southern India with his herd. And you can not  conceive the prodigious memory has forgotten. Yet despite this, his character had not soured.
At least not until the morning of May 18, 1943.

"This is a very strange account I stumbled upon.  It seems to be describing an Asian elephant, yet this sure looks like a African Bush elephant to me, and a male at that apparently, if I am to trust the translation.  Stranger still a male elephant with the female name of Dalia.  Is this a Bush elephant, and does anyone have anymore information on him?


Bjorn said...

Strange indeed. If Dalia was born in 1883 like it says in the article, he would have been 60 years old at the time of his dead in 1943. The bull in this picture does not look like a sixty year old busch elephant, he looks more like a teenaged Forrest elephant.

Anonymous said...

I would agree, this is definitely a sub-adult African forest bull.

As the text describes a much older Indian bull there seems to have been a mix up with the picture attached.

Regarding the female name "Dalia" it is quite possible that the zoo thought this was a cow initially and the name stuck?

This wouldn't be the first time a gender mix up has occurred.

The African Tembo at Brookfield in the 1930s/40s was thought to be a male all her life, but was in fact a female.

More recently the African Timbo at Tippi Hedren's Shambala ranch was always referred to as a bull but it was clearly a stocky cow. Seen side by side with the female Kura, Timbo was about the same size. Her head profile was sharply angled, tusks weren't overly thick, and size was right for a female African.

Her picture can be seen here:

DanKoehl said...

I have him as bush elephant

Karina A. Fogliani said...

I remember the story of Dalia. My mom used to tell me about it all the time. He went mad when his partner died and started destroying the zoo. He escaped his enclosure and even twisted some pipestthat one can still see at the entrance to the zoo. I get so sad when I remember him. It wasn't his fault, but he paid dearly for it