Petal, in Memoriam

recipient:

New York State Archives/Cultural Education Center/Room 9B52/Albany, NY 12230

sent:

Petal In Memoriam. at 52 years old, she was the oldest elephant at the Philadelphia Zoo and the United States, remarkable she lived so long, as the average lifespan for African elephants is about 40-45. Initial tests have not been able to determine cause of death, doctors and experts say it was not heat related, and Petal did not have any serious health issues. The Philadelphia Zoo’s been having financial difficulty in keeping up their elephant habitat, Petal was supposed to be transferred at the end of the summer to the Pittsburgh’s Zoo because they have more space and resources to take care of the large creatures. Petal’s described as a dignified elephant who never had any children of her own, but “She was confident of her position within the group, and now in her older years was very even-tempered and calm,” Andrew Baker, vice president of animal programs, said.

reasoning:

Petal was a long-time resident of the zoo, arriving in 1957. when news of her death broke, apparently her 2 keepers were too upset to publicly talk about it.  so sad. elephants are those creatures that are so huge, but yet look so incredibly gentle, kind, and sweet. they’re expressive, and fluid, like a humpback whale, as long as you don’t piss it off. sometimes you wonder how the earth could hold and support such a large creature, or how they can move so gracefully.  AT and I once made this ridiculous attempt to get to the Zoo via bus system, where we subsequently got lost, and walked all of the sketchy parts of Girard St, and only got to the zoo, itself, after it had closed, but if we had made it that day, I bet Petal would have been one of my favorites.

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