The nine elephants,
along with three zebras, four pythons and 200 monkeys, were put ashore at Boston
harbor Thursday after surviving a rough ocean voyage. They were shipped from India
for the Dailey Brothers Circus at Gonzales, Texas.
attraction of the lot was “Butch,” probably the smallest elephant ever seen in
the United States. He stands three feet high and weighs less than 250 pounds.
Two other elephants died in route – probably from heart trouble induced by the
high seas. Louis Reed of Chatham, N.Y., who purchased and escorted the animals
on their one and a half month trip, said the elephants probably died of excitement
after their hearts became weakened in fighting against captivity.
“Butch,” however, was too little
to be bothered, Reed said. But the little one did require constant care and regular
doses of rum in addition to his diet of rice, warm milk, oatmeal and syrup. In
all “Butch” and the other eight survivors drank about 15 gallons of rum. The biggest
“shot” was given to a larger elephant, “Virginia,” who became shaky and collapsed
just as the S.S. Irisbank entered Boston Harbor.
needed a full gallon to get back on her feet,” Reed said.
the roughness of the sea and delays caused by engine breakdowns, all the animals
weathered the trip in good shape. Two representatives of the Massachusetts Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals inspected the cargo and decided it was
in top-notch condition.
They concentrated their examination on “Butch,” believing that if the little dumbo-like
animal – could not even use his trunk properly – lived through the trip, the treatment
must have been of the best.
the rice and rum, Reed had to purchase more than six tons of hay to feed the elephants,
ages of which range up to two and a half years. They cost approximately $1,500
each. “They required care. And good care because they represent a sizeable investment,”
pythons on the other hand were a pleasure to tend. We practically forgot about
them – they haven’t eaten since we left.” Reed said all he had to do for the snakes
was to water them a few times. “They can go long periods without eating and we
don’t plan to feed them until we reach Texas.”
The animals were shipped to circus headquarters by rail after going through a
Published with author's permission.