Sissy was captured and separated from her mother and family in Thailand in 1969 when she was one year old, and then shipped to America where she became the favourite attraction at Six Flags over Texas Amusement Park petting zoo.

Sissy with tyre

Sissy lived alone in a zoo for many years with no friends. She had to be creative and improvise. The tyre she carries is not the exact tyre she had growing up but it has become an acceptable substitute.  Sissy likes to take her tyre with her just about everywhere she goes.

She was at the Frank Buck Zoo during the record flood of 1981, when she and many of the Zoo’s animal collection were swept from their enclosures. Sissy was presumed dead but when the waters started to recede, she was spotted.  Actually it was her trunk that was spotted, wrapped around a tree limb, sticking just above the water line. It would be another 24 hours before the water level dropped enough for Sissy to free herself from the tree that her body and trunk were wrapped around. Sissy suffered long-term emotional trauma from that horrifying accident.  Several who were close to her have said that the threat of a pending storm causes Sissy to become petrified with fear. Her phobia of water was so deep that for years Sissy would allow only one keeper to give her a bath.

In 1986, Sissy was shipped to the Fort Worth Zoo for breeding. This was the first time since infancy that Sissy would be with others of her own kind.  Sadly her socialization skills were not developed, making interaction with the other elephants difficult for her.  Additionally, Sissy was now separated from her longtime keeper and was now expected to respond to strangers.  She reportedly showed signs of aggression toward her new keepers and did not relate well with the other elephants. Those who knew her well observed that Sissy was miserable.

After some time at El Paso zoo where she was mistreated, she was finally allowed to retire to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee –

and look at her now!

Sissy with her sanctuary pal, Winkie

Sissy with her sanctuary pal, Winkie

Sissy and Winkie, best pals

Sissy and Winkie, best pals

Sissy watches as Winkie takes her first tentative steps into the sanctuary pond

Sissy watches as Winkie takes her first tentative steps into the sanctuary pond

6 thoughts on “Sissy

  1. This was so touching. My sister and I both have young children and although so many parents happily bring their kids to the zoo- we just can’t bare it. The animals look lifeless and terribly depressed and all we want to do is let them all go! We don’t support it at all. I am so glad for Sissy’s happy ending though! This reminds me, I’m dying to see Blackfish – the new documentary that received amazing reviews at Sundance- about a whale which was kept at Seaworld and was responsible for multiple deaths as his aggression escalated from his captivity!
    Thanks for sharing,


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