James McNally

From the list of elephant persons Family: McNally

James McNally
Profession zoo elephant keeper
Personal details
Born ? in Ireland
Dead 1903-06-09 in Ireland
Country Ireland

Title elephant keeper -1903
Location at Dublin Zoo in Ireland

Biography details

James McNally , zoo elephant keeper in Ireland

Born ? in Ireland dead 1903-06-09 in Ireland .

1903-06-09: On the 9th of June 1903 James McNally, a beloved keeper in Dublin Zoo, and his son proceeded to the enclosure of Sita. She was an Indian elephant who had spent over 20 years at her adopted home in the Phoenix Park. James had been her keeper, trainer and friend since she arrived in Dublin Zoo. At 5 tonnes and 12 Feet high at the shoulder, she was the largest elephant in the British Isles. A favorite of children, Sita had never previously shown any signs of aggression.

On that fateful day, McNally and son were attending to her cut and badly infected foot. McNally had previously trained Sita to kneel on command, so requested she do that so he could apply lotion to her wound. However, due to the sheer agony which the usually docile creature was experiencing, she ran amok lashing out at the zookeeper trying to help her. In what must've been a traumatic sight, especially for his poor son, Sita knocked unfortunate McNally to the ground with her muscular Trunk. To the horror of all involved, she then proceeded to stand on McNally's head where he lay. In a daze of pain and fright, Sita kept her massive foot squashing the zookeeper whilst a dozen people frantically tried to drag and push her off the man. Sadly it was too late. The animal-lover suffered catastrophic head injuries and was already dead.

Sita was put down by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary.

1903-06-10: In an appalling and unnecessary act, Sita was shot dead with an "elephant rifle" the next day by two Royal Irish Constabulary policemen, chosen because of their experience Hunting in British India.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). elephant keeper James McNally in Ireland. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 17 April 2024 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=1142. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Rob Buchanan

Selected publications

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Categories elephant keeper | zoo | Dublin Zoo | McNally family | Born ? | Dead 1903 | People from Ireland

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