From Medical Tribune, September 3, 1962
|† Young Tusko||ID Number:||SSP Number: 620 -|
|Sex and age:||Male ♂ Notice: A non well formed numeric value encountered in /customers/6/2/a/elephant.se/httpd.www/database2.php on line 724 Notice: A non well formed numeric value encountered in /customers/6/2/a/elephant.se/httpd.www/database2.php on line 731 Notice: A non well formed numeric value encountered in /customers/6/2/a/elephant.se/httpd.www/database2.php on line 749 14 years old|
|Dead date:||† 1962-08-03|
|Death reason:||killed: overdosis of LSD|
|Location:||Oklahoma City Zoo|
|Arrived||Oklahoma City Zoo 1961-00-00|
(Todo: problem fetching history (php7,2 upgrade))
|Document updated||2010-09-26: |
2011-02-22: Death, SSP RE
Mystified by the new wonder drug LSD, the psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West and his colleague at the University of Oklahoma, Chester M Pierce, were looking for a new way to investigate the drug in 1962. The proposed point of the experiment was to determine whether an injection of LSD would induce "musth," a mysterious pachydermian state where elephants become violent which lasts about 2 weeks. Elephants have been known to kill their handlers when in "musth."
As previous research had suggested that high doses to LSD were needed to get perceivable effects in "lower animals," they decided to start with a 0.1 mg/kg dose of LSD for Tusko. That came to about 297 milligrams (in 5 mL of water, injected intramuscularly) of LSD for 7000 pound Tusko. The injection was delivered via a pressurized CO2 dart gun. For comparison, the threshold dosage for an effect in people is around 20-30 micrograms and a recreational 3+ hour dose would be around 100-200 micrograms.
"Tusko began trumpeting and rushing around the pen, a reaction not unlike the one he had shown the day before (during the placebo shot). However, this time his restlessness appeared to increase for 3 minutes after the injection; then he stopped running and showed signs of marked incoordination. His mate (Judy, a 15-year-old female) approached him and appeared to attempt to support him. He began to sway, his hindquarters buckled, and it became increasingly difficult for him to maintain himself upright. Five minutes after the injection he trumpeted, collapsed, fell heavily on his right side, defecated, and went into status epilepticus."West, LJ, Pierce, CM, Thomas, WD (1962) Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: Its effect on a Male Asiatic Elephant. Science, 138, 1100-1102
West and Pierce's conclusion, a staggering feat of positive thought, sums up an era's belief in the infallibility of science: "It appears that the elephant is highly sensitive to the effects of LSD - a finding which may prove to be valuable in elephant-control work in Africa."
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