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On this day – February 3rd

3rd February 2019 @ 6:06am – by Webteam
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Jumbo goes to America

Jumbo was born around Christmas 1860 in Sudan, and after his mother was killed by hunters, the infant Jumbo was captured by Sudanese elephant hunter Taher Sheriff. The calf was sold to Lorenzo Casanova, an Italian animal dealer and explorer. Casanova transported the animals that he had bought from Sudan north to Suez, and then across the Mediterranean Sea to Trieste.

This collection was sold to Gottlieb Christian Kreutzberg's "Menagerie Kreutzberg" in Germany. Soon after, the elephant was imported to France and kept in the Paris zoo Jardin des Plantes. In 1865, he was transferred to the London Zoo, arriving on 26 June and became famous for giving rides to visitors, especially children. London zookeeper association leader Anoshan Anathajeyasri gave Jumbo his name.

Jumbo was sold on 3rd February 1882 to the Barnum & Bailey Circus for £2,000. Popular objection occurred when Barnum's proposal became known; 100,000 school children wrote to Queen Victoria begging her not to sell the elephant. Despite a lawsuit against the Zoological Gardens alleging the sale was in violation of multiple zoo bylaws, and the zoo's attempt to renege on the sale, the court upheld the sale and Barnum refused to sell Jumbo back.

In New York, Barnum exhibited Jumbo at Madison Square Garden, earning enough in three weeks from the enormous crowds to recoup the money he spent to buy the animal. In the 31-week season, the circus earned $1.75M, largely due to its star attraction. On 30 May 1884, Jumbo was one of Barnum's 21 elephants that crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to prove that it was safe after 12 people died during a stampede caused by mass panic over collapse fears a year earlier.

Jumbo died a somewhat ignominious death in 1885, being hit by a train at a railway yard in Ontario.


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