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15 World Famous Animals with Stories


A special bond exists between man and animal.  We love, marvel, admire, and
invite these creatures into our homes and make them part of our families.
Humans have a long history and appeal of exotic animals.  The first formal zoo
was the Tower Menagerie in London, which was formed in 1235.  Many
animals hold a lasting impression on history.  Here is a list of some world
famous animals and their stories.         

15. Gerald and Eddie


Meet Gerald the giraffe and Eddie the goat.  Gerald arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo
Farm in 2006 when he was two years old.  He was expected to be paired with
a female giraffe, but a match was hard to find, so Eddie the goat was added to
his enclosure.  Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is a 100-acre zoo and entertainment
centre in Wraxall, North Somerset, about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Bristol in the
United Kingdom.  It was originally supposed to be a temporary move, but the
couple became the best of friends.  They hit it off right away and Eddie has
become a great companion for Gerald.

The pair can often times be seen running around the enclosure playfully
chasing each other.  In the summer months Gerald takes to licking Eddie on
the head.  Gerald eats off of a raised platform and Eddie grazes from the
ground, but they prefer to eat together.  One of Gerald and Eddie’s roommates,
a zebra named Zebedee, can be a bit of a bully and often times chases Eddie,
but Gerald is always quick to straighten out the situation.  The pair make an
usual and special partnership. 


14. Ol' Rip the Horned Toad


Ol' Rip was a horned lizard who supposedly survived a 31-year hibernation as
an entombed animal.  His name is a reference to the fictional character Rip
Van Winkle.  In 1897, a horned lizard was placed in a cornerstone of the
Eastland County Courthouse in Eastland, Texas along with other time capsule
memorabilia.  When the courthouse was torn down 31 years later, the
cornerstone was opened and a live horned lizard was produced, allegedly from
within the time capsule.  The lizard became a celebrity and went on tour, even 
visiting Washington, D.C. to meet President Calvin Coolidge.  Ol' Rip died 11
months later, and his remains can be seen on display in the new Eastland
County Courthouse.  In 1973 the body was stolen and an anonymous letter
explained that the finding of Ol' Rip alive had been a hoax and demanded other
unnamed co-conspirators should come forth.  No one ever did.

13. Goldie


Goldie was a male golden eagle who lived at London Zoo during the 1960s.
He caused a nationwide sensation when he escaped for 12 days in March
1965.  Goldie flew away from his keepers on February 28, 1965, while his
cage was being cleaned.  He avoided being recaptured for nearly two weeks,
despite a massive effort using equipment borrowed from the Royal Navy and
British Civil Defense.  Goldie spent most of the time in Regent's Park, which
surrounds the zoo, but he also made excursions into the nearby neighborhoods
of Camden Town, Tottenham Court Road, and Euston.

Goldie's escape enthralled the British public.  The zoo received thousands of
phone calls and letters, and large crowds gathered in Regent's Park to watch
the bird's keepers trying to catch him.  While free, the predatory bird killed and
ate a duck in the garden of the American ambassador to Britain.  He also
attacked two terriers in the park.  Goldie was finally caught on March 11 after
the zoo's deputy head keeper tempted him to earth with a dead rabbit.  He was
in good health after his experience and was reunited with his mate, Regina.
The zoo's attendance nearly doubled in the days after his return.


12. Traveller


Traveller was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's most famous horse during
the American Civil War.  Traveller was originally named Jeff Davis and was
born near the Blue Sulphur Springs, in Greenbrier County, Virginia.  He took
the first prize at the Lewisburg and Virginia fairs in 1859 and 1860. Traveller
was a sturdy horse, weighing 1,100 pounds (500 kg).  He was iron gray in
color with black points, a long mane, and flowing tail.  In 1961, Robert E. Lee
ordered Joseph M. Broun to purchase a good serviceable horse for use during
the war.  Traveller was purchased for $175.  General Lee took a fancy to the
horse, referring to him as his "colt".  Traveller was a horse of great stamina
and was difficult to frighten.  After the war, he accompanied Lee to Washington
College in Lexington, Virginia.

Traveller lost many hairs from his tail to admirers (veterans and college
students) who wanted a souvenir of the famous horse and his general.  Lee
wrote to his daughter Mildred that "the boys are plucking out his tail, and he is
presenting the appearance of a plucked chicken."  In 1870, during Lee's
funeral procession, Traveller was led behind the caisson bearing the General's
casket, his saddle and bridle draped with black crepe.  Not long after Lee's
death, in the summer of 1871, Traveller stepped on a nail and developed
tetanus.  There was no cure, and he was euthanized to relieve his suffering.

11. Winnipeg the Bear


Winnipeg (or "Winnie") was the name given to a female black bear that lived at
London Zoo from 1915 until her death in 1934.  She was purchased as a small
cub for $20 by Lt Harry Colebourn in White River, Ontario.  He was en route
to the Western Front during the First World War.  The bear was smuggled into
Britain as an unofficial regimental mascot.  She was named after her home
city of Winnipeg in Manitoba.  Before leaving for France, Colebourn left
Winnie at the London Zoo.  She quickly became a popular attraction and was
much loved for her playfulness and gentleness.  Among her fans was A. A.
Milne's son Christopher Robin, who named his own teddy bear “Winnie,” giving
Winnie-the-Pooh his name.   

10. Balto


Balto was a Siberian Husky sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the
1925 serum run to Nome.  The serum run to Nome is a famous event in which
20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles
(1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking
five and a half days, saving the then small city of Nome and the surrounding
communities from an incipient epidemic.  For those who don’t know, diphtheria
is a deadly upper respiratory tract illness characterized by sore throat, low
fever, and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx, and/or nasal
cavity.  During 1925 the only doctor in Nome and the surrounding communities
was Curtis Welch.  In the summer of 1924, his supply of 8,000 units of
diphtheria antitoxin (from 1918) expired and the order he placed with the
health commissioner in Juneau did not arrive before the port closed.

Norwegian Gunnar Kaasen drove the sled dog team led by Balto.  Balto proved
superior on the Iditarod trail, saving his team in the Topkok River.  Balto was
also able to stay on the trail in near whiteout conditions in which Kaasen
admitted he could barely see his hand in front of his face.  During a blizzard,
Kaasen and his team missed the last sled dog team and had to take the
medicine twice as far, which was what eventually brought them to fame.  After
the mission's success, Balto and Kaasen became celebrities.  A statue of
Balto, sculpted by Frederick Roth, was erected in New York City's Central
Park on December 17, 1925.


9. Dolly


In 1996, a domestic sheep named Dolly became the first mammal to be cloned
from an adult somatic cell, using the process of nuclear transfer.  She was
cloned by Ian Wilmut, Keith Campbell, and colleagues at the Roslin Institute
near Edinburgh in Scotland.   Dolly was born on July 5, 1996, and lived until
the age of six.  Her entire life was spent at the Roslin Institute.  Dolly was bred
with a Welsh Mountain ram and produced six lambs in total.  She has been
called "the world's most famous sheep".  The cell used as the donor for cloning
Dolly was taken from a mammary gland.  The production of a healthy clone
proved that a cell taken from a specific part of the body could recreate a
whole individual.  She was named after the famous country western singer
Dolly Parton.  Dolly’s remains are exhibited at the Royal Museum of Scotland. 



On April 14, 2009, it was announced that Dr. Nisar Ahmad Wani, a veterinarian
embryologist at the Camel Reproduction Center in Dubai, United Arab
Emirates, had successfully cloned the first camel.  Her name is Injaz and she
is a dromedary camel.  Injaz was born after an "uncomplicated" gestation of
378 days.  The cloning project had the personal endorsement and financial
support of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister, Vice
President of the United Arab Emirates, and the emir of Dubai.

Injaz was created from ovarian cells of an adult camel killed for its meat in
2005.  The cells were grown in tissue culture and then frozen in liquid
nitrogen.  Afterwards, one of the cells was injected into a nucleus-removed
oocyte of the surrogate camel, which were fused with an electric current and
chemically induced to initiate cell division. The resulting embryo was cultured
for a week and implanted back into the surrogate camel's uterus.  Camel
racing is a lucrative industry in the UAE and Dr. Lulu Skidmore, the Center's
scientific director, commented that the camel cloning "gives a means of
preserving the valuable genetics of our elite racing and milk-producing camels
in the future."

8. The Only Photo of a Living Quagga


The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the Common zebra.  It was once found
in South Africa's Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free
State.  The quagga was distinguished from other zebras by having black and
white stripes only on the front part of its body.  In the mid-section of the animal
the stripes faded and the quagga’s rear end was a plain brown.  The species
lived in the drier parts of South Africa, on grassland.  It was hunted for its meat
and fur, and is one of many victims of modern mass extinction.  The quagga
was the first extinct species to have its DNA studied.  The only living quagga
to have ever been photographed was a mare at the Zoological Society of
London's Zoo in Regent's Park in 1870.  I couldn’t find her name, but here is
the photo. 

7. Sam the Koala


Sam was a female koala from the forests of Mirboo North, Victoria, Australia,
who became known when a video of her being rescued from a bushfire by a
firefighter was distributed on the internet and through the media.  The video
shows firefighter David Tree approaching Sam who initially attempts to flee but
then stops and accepts some water.  It was initially thought that Sam had
been rescued following the February 2009 Victorian bushfires; however, the
event actually occurred in the week before the worst of the fires, during back
burning operations initiated by firefighters.  Tree and his crew came across
Sam when they were blacking out after the fires had gone through.

Sam was subsequently taken to the Mountain Ash Wildlife Centre in Rawson
where she was found to be suffering from second-degree burns to her paws
and was given painkillers.  After exploratory surgery on her bladder and uterus
to evaluate the possible removal of cysts caused by urogenital chlamydiosis,
it was determined that Sam’s condition was inoperable and she was
euthanised to prevent her suffering.  Sam died young, but her legend will live

6. Jumbo


Jumbo was a large African bush elephant who was born in 1861 in the French
Sudan.  He was imported to France and kept in the old Zoo Jardin des
In 1865, Jumbo was transferred to the London Zoo, where he
became famous for giving rides to visitors.  Jumbo was sold in 1882 to P. T.
Barnum, owner of "The Greatest Show on Earth" (the Barnum & Bailey
Circus), for $10,000.  After Barnum purchased Jumbo, over 100,000 school
children wrote to Queen Victoria begging her not to sell him.  At the time of his
death Jumbo was measured at 4 metres (13 ft) tall.  Tragically, Jumbo died in
St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where he was crushed by a locomotive.  To
commemorate the tragedy, a life-sized statue of Jumbo was built in St.

The Death of Jumbo

5. Harriet the Tortoise

Harriot with Steve Irwin

Harriet was a Galápagos tortoise who had an estimated age of 175 years at
the time of her death in Australia.  She was born in 1830 and died in 2006.
Harriet is the second oldest tortoise ever authenticated, the oldest being Tu'i
Malila, who died in 1965 at the age of 188.  Tu'i Malila was a tortoise given to
the royal family of Tonga by Captain James Cook.  He was a radiated tortoise
from Madagascar.  Harriet was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during
his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey
expedition.  She was then transported to England and ultimately brought to her
final home in Australia.  However, some doubt was cast on this story by the
fact that Darwin had never visited the island that Harriet originally came from.
Many theories exist surrounding her origins.

Harriet was thought to be male for many years and was actually named Harry
until the 1960’s.  On November 15, 2005, her much publicized 175th birthday
was celebrated at Australia Zoo.  Harriet died in her enclosure on June 23,
of heart failure following a short illness.  Harriet was said to be very
good-natured.  She loved the attention of humans and enjoyed it when people
patted her on the scute.  Harriet spent a majority of her day napping at her
home pond.  Her favorite food was hibiscus flowers.

4. Guy the Gorilla


Guy is one of the most famous animals ever to live at London Zoo.  He was a
Western Lowland Gorilla that became something of a celebrity in the 1960s
and 70s.  Guy was often profiled on kids TV shows and natural history
productions.  He arrived at the zoo on November 5, 1947, the Guy Fawkes
Night, hence his name.  The Guy Fawkes Night is an annual celebration on the
evening of November 5.  It marks the downfall of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.
Guy was a tiny baby, weighing just 23 lb (10 kg), when he arrived at the zoo.
He was the replacement for the zoo's previous gorilla, Meng, who died in
1941. Guy was captured in the French Cameroons on behalf of Paris Zoo and
was traded for a tiger from Calcutta Zoo.

Lowland gorillas are the world's largest primates and the males can weigh
between 140 and 275 kilogrammes.  His appearance was fearsome yet his
nature was very gentle, when small birds flew into his cage, he reportedly lifted
them up on his hands and examined them carefully and fondly.  This gentleness
is said to have been a major part of his great popularity.  Guy died aged over
30 years, in 1978 of a heart attack during an operation on his infected teeth.
By the time of his death he had become an English icon. 

Baby Guy

Greyfriars Bobby


Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became famous in the 19th-century
in Edinburgh and Scotland.  Bobby made international news after reportedly
spending fourteen years guarding his owner's grave, until his own death on
January 14, 1872.  A year after the dog died, the philanthropist Lady Burdett
Coutts had a statue and fountain erected to commemorate him.  Several
books and films have been based on Bobby's life, including Greyfriars Bobby
by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961, Walt Disney
Productions) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).


3. Nubs


Brian Dennis is a United States Major who has served numerous tours in Iraq.
He was assigned to patrol the Iraqi forts on the border of Iraq and Syria.  In
this area of the world numerous wild packs of dogs live in the desert.  Brain
began to form a bond with a puppy in one of the packs.  This specific dog had
been mutilated and had his ears cut off by an Iraqi soldier.  The American
soldiers named the dog Nubs.  In one interaction with Nubs Dennis noticed
that he had a deep puncture wound in his side.  It was determined that Nubs
had been stabbed with a screwdriver.  Dennis was able to nurse him back to
health, but the dog was facing adversity with every passing day.

Dennis often had to leave Nubs behind, as the soldiers moved camp.  In one
specific instance his squadron moved 75 miles away from the location of the
dog pack, two days later, a tattered Nubs stumbled into the soldiers camp.  He
had traveled 75 miles across the desert in below freezing conditions.  It was
an incredible feat of nature.  Dennis raised $5,000 and had Nubs flown to the
U.S.  Brian Dennis and Nubs live together in San Diego, California.   


2. Secretariat


Secretariat was an American Thoroughbred racehorse, who in 1973 became
the first U.S. Triple Crown champion in 25 years.  He set records in the
Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5) and the Belmont Stakes (2:24).  Secretariat was
owned by Penny Chenery, trained by Canadian Lucien Laurin, and mainly
ridden by jockey Ron Turcotte.  The horse stood approximately 16 hands 2
inches tall, and weighed 1,175 pounds in his racing prime.  He became an
international celebrity after winning the Belmont Stakes (the 3rd leg of the
Triple Crown) by 31 lengths.

During the Belmont Secretariat ran the fastest 1½ miles on dirt in the history of
racing, 2:24 flat, which broke the stakes record by more than 2 seconds.  This
works out to a speed of 37.5 mph for his entire performance.  No other horse
has ever broken 2:25 for 1½ miles on dirt.  Upon retirement he became a stud
horse.  Secretariat sired a number of major stakes winners, including 1986
Horse of the Year Lady's Secret, 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner
Risen Star, and 1990 Melbourne Cup winner Kingston Rule, who broke the
course record in Australia's richest race.  He was a marvelous horse and one
of the fastest to ever live. 


1. Obaysch


In 1850, Obaysch became the first hippopotamus to be seen in England since
prehistoric times, and the first in Europe since Ancient Rome.  He was
captured on Obaysch Island off the White Nile River when he was less than
one year old.  The Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt, Abbas Pasha, agreed with the
British Consul General, Sir Charles Augustus Murray to swap Obaysch and
some other exotic animals for some greyhounds and deerhounds.  Obaysch
was sent by boat down the Nile to Cairo, accompanied by a herd of cows to
provide him with milk.  He was sent by P&O steamer to Southampton, and
arrived at London Zoo on May 25, 1850. 

Obaysch was an instant sensation in London, attracting up to 10,000 visitors
each day.  The number of visitors to the Zoo in 1850 was double the previous
year.  Obaysch received a mate in 1854, when a hippo named Adhela was
shipped to London.  The pair did not produce any offspring for 18 years, when
Adhela gave birth to a female hippo named Guy Fawkes.  Obaysch passed
away in 1878 at the age of 29. 


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Sheri - November 11, 2009
Terrific pictures.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted November 11, 2009