Famous elephant dies at Wild Adventures

Liz Dane and Queenie
Liz Dane and Queenie

A famous elephant who retired at Wild Adventures has died.

Queenie spent the last 8 years of her life in retirement at the Valdosta theme park.

Known as the World's only water skiing elephant, Queenie was one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America.

She was euthanized Monday.

This is video of Queenie water skiing. The elephant became known as the world's only water skiing elephant in the late 50s early 1960s. She performed all kinds of tricks throughout her life and made appearances on TV. Queenie died at Wild Adventures at age 59.

"I was extremely sad," said Liz Dane. "I cried but then when I reflected back on things I realized that it was news I was bracing myself for."

Liz Dane picked her out in a New York City pet store in 1953. She weighed 250 pounds and her family loaded her up in a Mercury to bring her back to New Hampshire.

"She was probably six months old at the time we bought her and she was nine and we were inseparable," said Dane.

Dane performed with her. When Dane left for college and her father died, she and her mother thought it'd be best for Queenie to be with other elephants and later in life she ended up at Wild Adventures.

Those who have ever took a ride on the safari train were mesmerized by Queenie.

"It was kind of sad but it's good now she's really happy though," said Rebekah Davis, a Wild Adventures guest.

"She had declining health and yesterday we found her in a weakened state," said Al Kordowski, the Wild Adventures zoo director. "We're happy with the way Shirley's taking everything."

Shirley the elephant retired in 1994 and Queenie joined her in retirement in 2003.

Two years later Dane reunited with Queenie for the first time at Wild Adventures.

"We had been apart for 38 years but Queenie remembered me and I made it a point to to see her ever since then," said Dane.

And as they say elephants don't forget and many people whose lives she touched won't forget Queenie.

The average life expectancy for Asian elephants is 50 to 70 years.


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