Peaches was the San Diego Zoo’s first African elephant—and she made sure to be a memorable one, too.
  • 1950s
  • 1980s

When Peaches arrived in 1953, she was three years old, smart, curious, and, as then ZOONOOZ editor Ken Stott described her, “playful as a quarter-ton kitten.” She had made the journey from Africa to San Diego with keeper Ralph “Gabe” Davis, and they got along famously—at least most of the time. When Gabe gave her breakfast, she would grumble and trumpet at him until he left her alone to eat—apparently, she was not sociable in the morning.

She also showed a marked preference for men, even pushing away Zoo Executive Director Belle Benchley when she tried to say hello. Peaches did become more mellow as she grew up, but even as an adult, she still had a way of “flirting” with men while, more often than not, giving women a cool stare.

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