Date of Birth: 1948
Place of Birth: Sumatra (an island in Indonesia); “a rare Asian elephant”
Where Now: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
Status: Oldest and most infirm elephant at the sanctuary
Elephas maximus sumatranus For more Photos of Shirley you will love see them at: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
In her over 66 years of living, as of this writing, Shirley has been through more distress than most elephants including:
- She was captured as a calf from the wild and purchased by the Kelly-Miller circus. She was made to perform in that circus, often in the most deplorable conditions, for the next 25 years. Shirley and the menagerie traveled all over North America.
- In 1958 Shirley and the entire Kelly-Miller circus was held hostage in Cuba with Fidel Castro’s uprising and ascent to power in that country. After several weeks Castro’s forces set them free.
- In 1963 she was rescued from a “cramped and ramshackle steamship, the Fleurus” used by the circus, after an engine explosion set the vessel afire.
- Immediately after the Fleurus disaster, which sent the docked vessel plummeting to the depths of the ocean floor, (in the Yarmouth Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada) the elephants were “eventually trucked back to the United States”. Unfortunately a crash occurred (no details given) during their trip. Fortunately, Shirley was at least one of the pachyderms that “obviously survived” that “elephant trailer” accident.
To Be Continued: Shirley is a VIE (Very Important Elephant) which means this Elephant of the Week will be featured in 2 parts. See: Part 2
See: Shirley’s history for more of her story and photos
For information on how to Adopt Shirley Elephas maximus sumatranus see: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
See: the Sumatran elephants Wikipedia