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Hans the Elephant
Virginia Kay Jones
73 Years at the zoo

Sometimes my mother had a hard time getting me to eat. But she discovered a way to tap into my love for the Houston Zoo, especially Hans, the elephant, my favorite animal at the Zoo. I was probably about two or maybe three at the time, so my “memory” is from what my mother told me. To get me to open my mouth for the next bite of food, she’d say, “Take a bit for Hans, the elephant.” I’m sure she told me to take bites for other animals, but Hans is the one that sticks in my memory. From what I’ve read, Hans arrived at the Zoo in 1925, having ben born in the wild around 1916, and in 1944, a news article described him as one of the largest bulls in captivity. When my daughter was little, she also visited Hans. After his death in 1979, the Zoo erected a statue to Hans, and I have several pictures of my grandchildren in front of his memorial.

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