Thursday, May 13, 2010

R.I.P. Mr. Jones, a/k/a Scotty the Elephant

Scotty the Elephant died of colic last night at the Louisville Zoo. He was the first elephant ever born there. He was three years old.

I had the privilege of getting to know Scotty through a friend who cleans the elephant cages every week. I learned that "Scotty" was his stage name. His real name, the name his trainers used, was "Mr. Jones," in honor of a famous elephant trainer. The stage name helped him ignore the tourists when they yelled out "Scotty." He only responded when someone called him "Mr. Jones."

This cute elephant was a toddler, and all boy. The last time I saw him, he kept taking his trunk (an elephant trunk contains 1100 different muscles) to tickle my son's toes through his flip-flops. Then he'd wrap his trunk around our necks and give us an elephant hug.

It's said that elephants have extraordinary memories, particularly for scent. They can recognize a previous visitor by her perfume. I do think Scotty/ Mr. Jones recognized me the second time we met.

The elephant team at the Louisville Zoo is talented, dedicated and very kind. I am so sorry for their loss.

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