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Le Fabuleux Destin de Siam, l'éléphant
Siam, the Elephant
© Kwanza

En avril 2001, un nouveau spécimen est venu enrichir le cortège des animaux de la Grande Galerie de l'Évolution, au Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris. C'est un éléphant d'Asie, 3,07 m au garrot, qui a demandé trois ans de travail au naturaliste. Comment Siam, puisque c'est son nom, s'est-il retrouvé là ? Quels événements extraordinaires ont fait de cet éléphant pas comme les autres, né en Inde en 1946, le représentant de ses congénères au Panthéon des animaux ?

India 1946 – When Siam was born into a herd of wild elephants, nobody could foretell his great career – from the wilderness onto the cinema screen. Still as a cub, Siam was caught in the wooded jaws of the “khedda”, a giant trap, and trained to uproot trees and transport trunks. Soon remarked for his beauty and strength, Siam was sold to a rich merchant for traditional ceremonies. Wearing makeup and magnificent robes, he was the most beautiful of all, worshipped and beloved... One day, Siam was bought by the Knie circus in Switzerland. The elephant embarked on an amazing journey, from Calcutta to Zurich, via the Suez Canal, and Genoa. Siam became the star of the circus. But his fierce nature revealed itself and on a fit of jealousy, Siam attacked an employee. But just like a cat, Siam had several lives and started a new career - as a comedian in Academy Award Winner Pierre Etaix’ film YoYo. In the last part of his life, Siam continued to entertain people in the renowned Paris zoo. He became so popular that at his death in 1997, he was stuffed and is now exposed to the public at the city’s National Museum of Natural History. Siam has grown “immortal”!