Book; Elephants and Egotists. In Search of Samorn of the Adelaide Zoo. Patricia Sumerling
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Samorn, the Adelaide Zoo's last elephant, was adored by generations of zoo visitors. When I was a child a trip to the zoo was never complete without a ride in Samorn's cart. She seemed to love the kids and they loved her. We would put peanuts on the posts which she would pick up in her trunk as she passed by.
A gift from the Thai government in 1956, she was transferred thirty-five years later to Monarto Zoo to live out her days. When she died there in 1994 there was an outpouring of sadness from all who knew or grew up with her.
Elephants and Egotists is a tribute to Samorn, but also tells of other elephants sent to South Australia and the colourful characters who decided their fate. Elephants, particularly those in Southeast Asia, are now a critically endangered species needing our concern and immediate action. As Sir David Attenborough asks: 'The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?'
I'd like to think we know better now, but for those who grew up in a more innocent era, Samorn remains a wonderful memory of childhood days in Adelaide.