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This is bongo, he was one of the few elephants that really stuck out. he loved playing around, he would stick his ears out throw up his trunk and charge at you for a few feet just to let you know he was in charge, never really serious about it.

 

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Those are great photos Donald! Working in the Safari when it first opened must have been really exciting. For some reason, early pictures of the Safari always makes me think of the movie Jurassic Park when the staff is watching and learning how the dinosaurs are adapting to their new environments.

 

To see Donald's complete 1974 Safari Collection please visit his new album by clicking HERE.

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Those log fences in the photos above have long been removed. Was the area pictured a public area or backstage areas? What purpose did those log fences serve?

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i believe the log fences in the pictures were already in place when gary and i got to great adventure. their job was to keep the elephants and rhinos contained in their areas. they held up well considering these large animals used them as scratchers and did not give in to their weight. when you make the long turn around the pond, about halfway in the turn, look right and uphill you'll see two gates up there. those lead to the elephant- rhino barn. the one on the left is the rhino side and the other is the elephant side. up that hill is two seperate paddocks for the animals to wander in while in the off season so the barn can be cleaned out. with nearly 30 elephants and 16 rhinos they can really make a mess. some of the animals did pick on others of their own species, that's why there is two paddocks, didn't want the large rhinos picking on the small elephants. i'm assuming those fences came down when all the animals grew to full size and that type fence wouldn't contain them anymore. back in the early, early 70's at a park in mesquite texas called world of animals the rhino section had a cable fence that the rhinos used as rubbing posts and ended up with notches worn into their horns. these rhinos were the 6 largest at great adventure at the time the park opened in 74 and could be identified by their horns from a pretty good distance. i hope that answers your question.

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Thanks Donald, that sure does answer my questions! Those fences looked so long I was thinking they were along part of the guest roadway. I knew the elephants and rhinos were free to roam into the roadways, so that's where my question came from.

 

Today, the elephants are in an enclosed area but the rhinos are still able to go into the roadway. I would think the rhinos (maybe because of their horns) would be the more agressive species.

 

 

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To add to Donalds discription,the whole permiter of the section was with the log fence and between it and the Cyclone fence was a deep ditch. I can't tell from the photos Phil posts how the paddocks are separated nowdays? The whole Safari looks ragged from loss of trees. It was the second year before I could finally convince Butch and the Landscape Crew to start to protect the trees from the animals. I know the elephants destroyed a jungle around the lake in my old section, but it was a way to settle them into their new home. One that I might add has been theres for 35 yrs now! I still remember the first days there! Lots and lots of memories. I just took my old films in to be produced into DVDs so I can post them here. They will blow you all away looking at them, I promise!

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^ We can't wait to see the films! All the early photos and information you and Donald provided has been great! We look forward to learning more about the Safari!

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OK, put me on the spot will ya! :D The one on the left looks to me a female named Mimi? The larger one is either RIP the male there now, can't see his ears or tail for ID? OR it is one of four larger elephants that came from Parc Safari Africa in Canada. That would of been Targa, Tanya, Lucy or Bertha. I can't really see their faces well enought to ID them, that and it has been 33 yrs since I have seen them. I do have alot of photos and of course the films that will soon be posted on this site once I learn how to do that? I will need your help, I am sure! A second look and Gloria comes to mind? She had a really pretty head! Those guys sure loved the pond. I could sit in my truck and watch them swim all day! I often wondered if they every drained that pond and pumped in fresh water?

Edited by Gary Hill

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I am so glad Donald posted the photo of Bongo! He was my Favorite of all of them! He gentled down faster and responded to me faster than any other elephant I had.

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I do have alot of photos and of course the films that will soon be posted on this site once I learn how to do that? I will need your help, I am sure!

 

Just let us know when you are ready with the photos and film and we will be happy to help! One thing to keep in mind- photos should be 1MB or less and videos need to be 50MB or less. Both can easily be resized to upload.

 

 

 

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I am so glad Donald posted the photo of Bongo! He was my Favorite of all of them! He gentled down faster and responded to me faster than any other elephant I had.

 

When Donald mentioned the elephant's ears, it made me think of this photo from 1974, but I don't think this one has tusks.

 

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I found more pictures to add to my album but i wanted to tell you a story about some of them before I added to this page. during the off season Gary and I had the same routine day in and day out just about every day. Well it was quite a surprise to enter the barn one morning and have a baby rhino run out through the bars and come to us. We got our work done but spent most of the day playing with the new baby. My memory isn't as good as it used to be so I had to ask Gary their names. He said the first one, a female, was called Quannza or Kidogo and the second born was a male named Dino. The pictures I have are one or both of the babies I cant remember so I refer to the pictures as baby rhino.

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Those are AMAZING pictures! Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

 

That picture of Butch shows him working on the motorized gates for the Big Cats area.

 

I have 2 questions:

 

When the baby rhino came through the bars, would mama rhino get upset? I figure they're probably very protective of their babies.

 

Where was this picture taken:

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I'm trying to figure out if this is the first lion section or the second? I'm guessing it's the second (which is now the Australian section).

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I am not able to see all of the photos Donald has posted? I have copies or orginals of alot of them from the elephant/ rhino barn where the babies were. The momma rhinos never did get upset with us playing with the babies. We had to protect the babies from the other rhinos in the barn with the bales of hay that you see. We also left the pen next to momma and baby open so we had a playpen for us and them to get used to us. Kiddogo and Dino were the names of the first two babies.

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