Tusko (Ned) at Woodland Park Zoo

Male Asian elephant Tusko (Ned) at Woodland Park Zoo

Photo � Woodland Park Zoo, Knudson family
† Tusko (Ned)
ID Number:   SSP Number: T2242 - 
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male 43 years
Status:confiscated
Dead date: 1933-06-10
Death reason: disease: massive blood clot in the heart
Location:Woodland Park Zoo
ArrivedWoodland Park Zoo 1932-10-08
from George ”Slim” Lewis
George ”Slim” Lewis 1931-00-00
from Al G. Barnes Circus
Al G. Barnes Circus 1921-00-00
from M.L. Clark Wagon Show
M.L. Clark Wagon Show 1903-00-00
from Great Eastern Shows (W.F. Smith)
Great Eastern Shows (W.F. Smith) 1902-00-00
from Great Syndicate Shows
Born:1890 wild Thailand
Document updated2016-01-05: SSP nr

The North American Regional Studbook lists this elephant with a Temporary Studbook Number, lacking "supporting documentation to validate their identity."

Records about Tusko (Ned) from SSPNorth American Studbook for Asian elephants state following records for the asian elephant Tusko (Ned):

T2242 M ~ 1896 WILD WILD ASIA ???? NONE Capture Ned
SMITH SH ~ 1902 ________ Transfer
BARNES AL ~ 1904 TUSKO Transfer
SEATTLE ~ 1930 ________ Transfer
10-Jun-35 Death

Source: SSP studbook for Asian elephants online

"That winter Lee reported he matched Ned for a fight with a Mexican bull in the bull ring at Juarez, Old Mexico, on February 2, 1913. He was to get $2,500, and movies were to be taken, and Clark was to get a print of the films. Five bulls were run out and none would fight Ned. The Mexicans did not like that and the films were confiscated by police. Clark was to be fined $500, but he sneaked across the bridge to El Paso, Texas, during the night with Ned.

About midseason of 1921, the Clark show sold the big male tusker, Ned, to Al G. Barnes. Ned was loaded in a baggage car on July 3, 1921, in Seligman, Missouri, and shipped to the Barnes show, which was playing in Minnesota at the time. After going to the Barnes show the elephant's name was changed to "Tusko." Lee Clark reports that Barnes paid $6,000 cash for the bull. The writer considers the sale of Ned as the beginning of the end of the Clark show. (See the article on Ned and Mena in the November-December, 1958, issue of Bandwagon.)

Some people refer to Ned/Tusko as a killer elephant, but no one knows of any one he killed. It is true that after getting to the Barnes show the elephant did get unmanageable at times and was left in quarters parts of some season. He was kept well chained. There are photos of him wearing a "martingale" on the Clark show, which would indicate he was on the rough side while still on that show. But Lee Clark said he only wore this during his "must" season. Handlers had to watch him when he swung his head and kept away from his tusks at such times. Lee says the only person injured by Ned on the Clark show was Willie Clark, who was hit by a tusk and received a broken rib."

Homer C. Walton. Bandwagon, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Mar-Apr), 1965, pp. 4-11.


"Elephant Tusko was acquired to Seattle Woodland Park Zoo October 8. He was living in miserable conditions in a traveling show at Virginia and Westlake, in downtown Seattle. Mayor Dore ordered him confiscated and removed to WPZ. The Park Board approved the acquisition of Tusko provided title was free and clear and hired G.W. "Slim" Lewis as special keeper for Tusko @ $3.25 per day.

Tusko was an infamous circus bull, renowned for his tremendous size and for having gone on rampages from time to time. He spent the last months of his life at Woodland Park Zoo, with Lewis. Lewis wrote an autobiography -- I Loved Rogues in which he detailed the years he spent training elephants in circuses and zoos.

The Board approved remodeling Wide Awake's Elephant House to accommodate Tusko. This enlargement was apparent until the building's demolition in the 1990s. The north portion of the building had a higher roofline and was more spacious, in keeping with Tusko's tremendous size.

On June 10, 1933, Tusko died from a massive blood clot in his heart. His demise set off an acrimonious dispute as to the ownership and rights to his remains."

Woodland Park Zoo


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