Carol

This feisty Asian elephant had an illustrious career as a painter, late night TV guest, and a true crowd pleaser.
  • 1960s
  • 2000s

Carol arrived in San Diego in 1968 as a one-year-old calf and grew up in the Children’s Zoo. That’s where she befriended Joan Embery, the Zoo’s goodwill ambassador. The two got along famously, including several forays on the “Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.” The perky pachyderm even took up painting, holding the brush in her trunk and creating “wild” pieces of artwork, which were sold at Zoo events, raising thousands of dollars for elephant care and conservation.

In 1978, Carol packed her “trunk” for the Wild Animal Park (now the Safari Park) and joined the new herd of Asian elephants there. She and Joan continued to delight visitors with presentations for several years. Carol’s vivacious personality and colorful talents introduced thousands of people to the intelligence and sociality of elephants and the threats they face around the world.

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