Minyak (Minjak) an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Carson and Barnes Circus

☨ Minyak (Minjak)
ID Number:EEP Number: 3201 -  Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /customers/6/2/a/elephant.se/httpd.www/database2.php on line 749   SSP Number: T2035 - 
Species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 54 years old
Dead date: 1986-00-00
Death reason: unknown:
Location:Carson and Barnes Circus
ArrivalCarson and Barnes Circus 1964-00-00
from Hoxie Brothers Circus
Hoxie Brothers Circus 1962-00-00
from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus
Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus 1947-06-20
from Zoo Circus (Trolle Rhodin)
Zoo Circus (Trolle Rhodin) 1944-00-00
from Circus Carl Hagenbeck - Stellingen (Lorenz Hagenbeck)
Circus Carl Hagenbeck - Stellingen (Lorenz Hagenbeck) 1932-09-00
from Leipzig Zoo
Leipzig Zoo 1932-07-13
from Circus Carl Hagenbeck - Stellingen (Lorenz Hagenbeck)
Born:* 1932-01-29 captive-born
in Circus Carl Hagenbeck - Stellingen (Lorenz Hagenbeck)
Birth weight (kgs and pounds): 127.00 kgs, 279.40 lbs
Parents: Jacky x Roma I
Siblings through the father Jacky:
  1. 1934-05-01 -- † 1965-09-13 (F) Maja
  2. 1936-08-08 -- † 1953-07-31 (M) August
Minyak (Minjak)s pedigree:

Minyak (Minjak)



Roma I

Document updated2009-10-31: previous locations: Leipzig
2009-11-11: source, birth weight
2009-11-27: SSP, text about death location
2012-06-16: eep records
2020-05-26. death year corrected

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

Minjak was conceived in Leipzig Zoo, but various sources give various records for her birth place:

Contradictory records:
1. According to Hugo Schmidt she was born in a Zoo in Essen.
2. Gerhard Zapf gives in his book a very clear birthplace: at the circus elephant tent while on tour in Essen.
3. EEP state she was born in Hamburg (Hagenbecks Tierpark)
4. According to EEG, she died in 1986 by Ringling, why she with 54 years should be the oldest captive-bred elephant.
5. SSP studbook state another death date than EEG.

Records about Minyak (Minjak) from EEPEuropean Studbook for Asian elephants state following records for the asian elephant Minyak (Minjak):

3201 F 29 Jan 1932 JACKY ROMA-1 HAMBURG 29 Jan 1932 NONE Birth Minjak
CIRCUS 1 Jan 1950 NONE Transfer
1 Jan 1964 Death

Source: EEP studbook for Asian elephants online

During world war II she was send, together with other elephants, with the circus to Malmoe in Sweden, in order to be protected from the war. But all elephants became confiscated by the swedish government, and sold to Ringling Bros Circus.

Minyak and Sabu came from the Hagenbeck Zoo where they appeared in a five act "Kernaudi", "Minyak", "Mudu", "Sabu" and "Icky" where they were presented by Hugo Schmitt.
Hugo once told me that as the Allied bombing intensified in Germany he often spent the night with them under a concrete overpass nearby waiting for the all clear signal.
Hugo and the elephants were soon shipped out of the country into neutral Sweden with hopes they would be returned after the war but such was not the case, they were confiscated by the Swedish Government and eventually sold to the Ringling Show in 1947.
In 1961 the Ringling Show sent a unit to South America and "Minyak" and "Sabu" were included but on their return were both sold to Hoxie-Bartok Circus in 1962 (I might add that Hugo never owned these elephants) and thenUnited Nations Circus in 1963. (Same show?)
They were sold to D.R. Miller in 1964 and "Minyak" died shortly after arriving in Oklahoma and "Sabu" died a year later after being leased to Carson & Barnes Circus (owned by Jack Moore) for that season.

Hugo added that "Minyak" had a calf while in the Hagenbeck Zoo and that he touched it before Minyak did. Today I hear that with so many calves being born in captivity, that is almost always the case.

William Buckles Woodcock

Many are the films which have been shot at Stellingen or with our
help, many too the television shows. One of the finest of these was
Cecil B. deMille's great American colour film The Greatest Show on
Earth. Here, through our animals and tamers, we were unwilling
collaborators. That film, as it Happens, reminded me vividly of my
own young days in American circus work. However, it did bring
about another meeting with Minjak. In the German dubbing of that
film her name remained the same, but even without that I would have
known her from a hundred other elephants. Minjak, expropriated in
Sweden, was born at Stellingen. Now she had been filmed in the
biggest circus in the world, and was the star of all the other animals
in it. Her foot swayed menacingly over the head of a girl artiste. She
carried her principal producer, another girl performer, in her mouth.
And she went through it all as magnificently as she had originally
learned in our Stellingen school. When I saw that film, I found myself
drying my eyes in the kindly darkness of the cinema.

Animals Are My Life, by Lorenz Hagenbeck

Reference list

Koehl, D., (2020). Minyak (Minjak), an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Carson and Barnes Circus in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 24 September 2020 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=1408. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Animals Are My Life, by Lorenz Hagenbeck
  • Elefanten in Zoo und Circus, EEG: Haufellner, Kurt, Schilfarth, Schweiger
  • Page 77, Jumbo auf dem Drahtseil - Elefanten dressuren von gestern und heute by Gerhard Zapf
  • William Buckles Woodcock

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