Jumbo at Barnum and Bailey Circus
Jumbo with his trainer Matthew Scott in London Zoo.
|† Jumbo||ID Number:||SSP Number: 301 -|
|Species:||African Bush elephant|
|Sex and age:||Male 24 years|
|Dead date:||† 1885-09-15|
|Death reason:||accident: crushed by a locomotive at train station in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada|
|Location:||Barnum and Bailey Circus|
|Arrived||Barnum and Bailey Circus 1882-04-09|
from London Zoo
London Zoo 1865-06-27
from Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes
Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes 1861-00-00
from Johann Schmidt
|Born:||1861 wild Ethiopia|
|Body height (m and feet):||3.32 meter, 10.9 feet|
|Body weight (kgs and pounds):||6500.00 kg, 14300.00 lbs|
|Document updated||2010-11-12: height and weight|
2011-04-26: SSP RE
Born and captured in Abbesinia or French Sudan, the small african elephant bull calf was brought to Cairo and purchased by the animal collector Johann Schmidt, who resold him to the menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, where he was exhibited with an african female, Alice.
By the initiative of superintendent of the London Zoo, Abraham Bartlett, Jumbo and Alice was transfered to London Zoo as exchange for an indian rhino.
"Bartlett sent Matthew Scott, a self-made expert in animal husbandry who had been with the London Zoo for more than a decade, to accompany the elephant to his new home. Upon arrival in Paris, the keeper was appalled: "A more deplorable, diseased and rotten creature never walked God's earth," he would recall. Scott never took a wife and essentially lived with Jumbo for the duration of the elephant's life, nursing the animal to robust health and sharing bottles of whiskey with him. He clearly emerges as one of several eccentrics brought to life here."Paul Chambers, Jumbo: The Greatest Elephant in the World
Jumbo became very populair with the public in London, and used as a riding elephant, and he grew to a size of 11 1/2 feet in height and 6 1/2 tons in weight.
Jumbo to America
"It was not Barnum but his partner, James Bailey, who proposed making an offer to the Londoners to bring the big animal to America. As was his habit, however, Barnum soon made the cause his own. By 1882 Bartlett was fed up with Scott, Jumbo's unruly trainer, who often used his hold over the elephant as blackmail against his employers. When the offer came from overseas to purchase the beast, Bartlett accepted - much to the chagrin of the zoo's constituency, which made its objections heard loud and clear."Paul Chambers, Jumbo: The Greatest Elephant in the World
Jumbo was sold in 1882 to P. T. Barnum, owner of "The Greatest Show on Earth", the Barnum & Bailey Circus for $10,000 US. A hundred thousand school children wrote Queen Victoria, begging her not to let Jumbo go, and lawsuits were brought against the society's officers for making the sale.
As a result of Barnum's publicity the word "jumbo" is now synonymous with "large" or "huge": billed as The Towering Monarch of His Mighty Race, Whose Like the World Will Never See Again, and huge was Barnums profit: thousands of New Yorkers met the ship on April 9, 1882, and in his first ten days with the circus menagerie, Jumbo brought in $30,000; during the first year, he earned $1.5 million. And then Jumbo was killed by a freight train at 9:30 p.m., on September 15, 1885, in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Jumbos deathThe Greatest Show on Earth was almost ready playing, twenty-nine elephants had already finished their routines and had been led down the railroad tracks to their waiting cars, but the smallest, named after Tom Thumb, and the largest, Jumbo, remained to close the show. As Matthew Scott was bringing the two elephants to the wagon, he suddenly heard a wistle...
Edgar H. Flach (a well-known jeweler from St. Thomas, Ontario) wrote a first-person account:
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