Dunk (Duncan) at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Male ♂ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) Dunk (Duncan) at Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Gold Dust and Dunk with head keeper W. H. Blackburne at the National Zoological Park, 1898
† Dunk (Duncan)
ID Number:   SSP Number: 477 - 
Species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Male ♂ 51 years old
Dead date: 1917-03-30
Death reason: accident: broken shoulder after falling
Location:Smithsonian National Zoological Park
ArrivedSmithsonian National Zoological Park 1891-04-30
from Adam Forepaugh Circus
Adam Forepaugh Circus 1873-00-00
Born:1866 wild Sri Lanka
Document updated2009-11-14: updated dead link to source, picture
2011-02-22: Death, Text RE
In 1891, the first animals to be quartered at the new National Zoo were Dunk and Gold-dust, donated to the government by James E. Cooper, owner of the Adam
Forepaugh Circus. Dunk fought badly with the other elephants, requring his transfer. The zoo accepted the 25 year old, 6040 pound elephant.

While sleeping one night in March 1917, Dunk lost his balance and fell, breaking his shoulder with the bone protruding from his hide, causing his death.

Several years ago, when Dunk was still living, I visited the elephant house in the National Zoological Park. The floor of Dunk’s enclosure was raised several inches above that of the front of the building. A peanut lay at the base of this raised floor and Dunk was trying to obtain it. But it was too close to the raised floor and he could not get hold of it. After a little he put his trunk down near the peanut and blew a gentle blast, rolling it out where it was easily accessible.

Dunk was the only elephant I ever knew who, having “gone bad” in a traveling menagerie, regained his good disposition in a park. Usually when an elephant “goes bad,” he is bad ever afterward.

W. Henry Sheak, The Elephant in Captivity, Natural History, September-October 1922

Sources, among others

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