Powered by Blogger.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Queenie, the world's only water skiing elephant, dies aged 59 at theme park where she retired

By Daily Mail Reporter

Scroll down to see Queenie water skiing

Talent by the trunkload: Queenie water skiing with keeper Liz Dane in a 1958 photo

An Asian elephant who gained fame by water skiing decades ago has died, operators at a US theme park announced.

Queenie, a 59-year-old Asian elephant was put to sleep after her health deteriorated.
She performed her water-skiing act during the late 1950s and 1960s. Footage shows

the young elephant balancing on two attached giant skis with a trainer alongside it as a boat pulled it through the water.

Queen of the lake: She gets ready for another run

Liz Dane, who worked with Queenie for years, said she was a natural performer.

She said:'She would stand on the skis at the edge of the water, and then once she got used to that they just slowly started towing the skis out and she just loved it,'

'She would put her trunk in the water and get a big scoop of water and spray it all over the place!

'I doubt very seriously that you'll ever see another elephant water ski,'

Ready to go: Queenie prepares to set off on her water skis in this photo from the 1950s. Keeper Liz Dane said: 'She loved it.'

Al Kordowski, director of zoological operations at Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia, said the animal had suffered from declining quality of life and chronic health issues.

Queenie was born in 1952 and came to the south Georgia theme park in 2003 to live out her retirement.

She was believed to be one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America.
Another of Queenie's talents was playing the harmonica.

She was born in Thailand in 1952 and imported to the U.S. as a baby.

In the Autumn of 1954 nine-year-old Dane asked her father to buy her a pet.

But instead of a puppy or kitten she ended up with a 250-pound elephant which they crammed into the back of the family car - a 1953 Mercury with the back seat removed — and took home to New Hampshire.

Queenie performed at state and county fairs, Republican rallies, military bases and circuses around the country.

Grand old age: Queenie, lived out her years at Wild Adventures theme park iin Valdosta, Georgia. She died this week aged 59

Liz said it was a Florida couple, Marj and Jim Rusing, who taught Queenie to water ski, which she did during the 1950s and 1960s.

Dane said the Rusings had trained other elephants to ski, but Queenie at the time was the world's only water-skiing elephant.

Queenie retired to the south Georgia theme park in 2003. Dane said the handlers there took excellent care of her.

Liz added: 'I had been bracing myself for the day I would get the call that she had passed.

'I've had a lot of ups and downs since then, and I've been hearing from so many people reminding me of how many memories they had of Queenie.'



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Top Web Hosting | manhattan lasik | websites for accountants