From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2004:
Purr Box Jr., 17, tiger tabby cat of Mary Wilkinson of
Stamford, Connecticut, died on May 1. A portrait of Purr Box Jr.
appeared on page 1 of the March 10, 2004 edition of The Wall Street
Journal, beneath the headline “Purr Box goes to communion at St.
Kathy, 34, the oldest female beluga whale in captivity,
was euthanized on April 9, 2004 at the New York Aquarium due to
incurable illness. Born in the Churchill River in northern Manitoba,
Kathi came to the aquarium in 1974. She gave birth twice, in 1981
and 1991. Both infants lived longer, at the time, than any others
born in captivity. Her 1991 calf, Casey, survived to age eight.
Yoda, a genetically modified dwarf mouse, died in his cage
on April 22 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, at age four
years and 12 days, the oldest lab mouse on record. He was a third
smaller than the average mouse, with heightened sensitivity toward
cold because of limited ability to hold his own body heat.
Timothy, 160, a tortoise acquired as a ship’s mascot by
British Navy Captain John Guy Courtenay Evered in the mid-19th
century, died in early April at Powderham Castle, near Exeter,
England, where he was longtime pet of the Earls of Devon. Naval
historian Captain George Cardew, Royal Navy, retired, established
that Timothy served with Evered aboard the HMS Queen during the first
bombardment of Sebastopol (1854), a major engagement of the Crimean
War. Evered and Timothy later served together aboard the Princess
Charlotte in the East Indies and the HMS Nakin during the Opium Wars
in China, 1857-1860. “This entitled Timothy to both service medals.
It was typical of the tortoise’s modesty that he chose not to wear
them,” Captain Cardew told Rory Knight Bruce of the Daily Telegraph.
Retiring from sea duty in 1892, Timothy spent the rest of his life
on the Courtenay estate. After Evard died at 101 in 1931, his chief
caretaker was Lady Gabrielle Courtenay, now 91.
Herman the Bull, 13, the first farm animal bearing a human
gene, was euthanized due to incurably painful arthritis on April 2,
2004 at the Naturalis museum in Leiden, the Netherlands. Recalled
Toby Sterling of Associated Press, “A human gene was splced into
Herman’s genetic code while in an early embryonic stage in 1990, in
the hope that milk produced by his female offspring would bear a
human milk protein. The process was cutting-edge at the time, but
has since been refined and is commonly used. Pharming NV, the
company that modified Herman, underwent financial restructuring in
2001. Herman’s 55 offspring were slaughtered, and he was bound for
the same fate until a TV program showed him licking a kitten. He
eventually won a bill of clemency from the Dutch parliament, though
he was ordered to be castrated. He lived on a farm for years until
funding for his care ran out in 2002,” after which he became a ward
Snowy & Blackie, pet ducks of Marie McGhee, of Birkenhead,
New Zealand, were shot dead along with 11 of McGhee’s chickens in a
March 14 dawn raid by pest control contractors hired by the North
Shore City Council in response to noise complaints. New Zealand SPCA
president Bob Kerridge denounced the shootings as “inhumane” and
“bizarre.” Mrs. McGhee is in her seventies.
Maybelle, 43, an African elephant who starred in the 1962
John Wayne film Hatari, died suddenly on April 22, 2004 at the San
Francisco Zoo, seven weeks after the March 7 euthanasia of the Asian
elephant Calle, 38. Born on May 21, 1960, in South Africa,
Maybelle was among the five oldest African elephants in the U.S.,
sharing quarters with Lulu, 38, since 1965. In Defense of Animals
founder Elliot Katz and Violet Soo- Hoo, once a major patron of the
San Francisco Zoo and now an outspoken critic, urged that the two
elephants left at the zoo, Lulu and Tinkerbelle, be retired to a
suitable sanctuary, where they would no longer stand on concrete.
Elephant #12, over 60 years of age, a longtime working
elephant first in Uttar Pradesh and since 2000 in Jaipur, where she
carried tourists up to the Amber Fort, died in early March after
extensive efforts to save her by Christine Townend and staff of the
Help In Suffering animal hospital and shelter.
Kali, 59, matriarch of the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City,
the third oldest Asian elephant in the U.S., was euthanized on March
8, 2004 when she fell and arthritis prevented her from rising. In
1959 Kali somehow received an officially recorded write-in vote for
mayor of Salt Lake City.
Bart, 17, the personable male ostrich of the Toledo Zoo
flock, was euthanized on April 10 after failing to recover from a
Luther, 5, beloved moose of the Beartooth Nature Center in
Red Lodge, Montana, was euthanized on March 17 when incurable
tumors were found on his kidneys. Law enforcement confiscated Luther
as a 48-hour-old calf in June 1998, after a woman called to say she
had a baby moose in her bedroom. The man who left Luther was later
prosecuted, but Luther’s mother was never found. Volunteer David
Owen bottle-fed Luther for the next 12 weeks. Luther’s birthday
party in 2003 attracted 300 well-wishers.
Kruger, 35, a white rhino who fathered 12 calves with his
mate Umfolozi, was euthanized due to kidney failure on April 26 at
the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland.
Takk, 7, lead dog of Iditarod contender Kjetil Backen, and
lead dog for the Iditarod-winning team of Norwegian driver Robert
Sorlie in 2003, died suddenly in harness with his team in first
place as they approached a rest stop on March 13. The Backen team
finished third without Takk, the second dog to die on the trail this
year. Wolf, 5, a member of the Lance Mackey team, died on March
10. Mackey, son of 1978 Iditarod winner Dick Mackey, finished the
2001 Iitarod in 36th place, then spent the next two years battling