Pizarro the Elephant

On this date in 1839, Raymond and Waring opened Cooke’s Circus in Philadelphia. Along with clowns, equestrian artists, and two camels, the show also included a male Asian elephant, Pizarro.

Pizarro killed a man in Louisiana in March 1845, but remained active as a performer.

Two years later, on April 15, 1847, the animal keepers forced Pizarro and a second elephant, Virginius, into the water at Greenwich Point, Pennsylvania, hoping that they would swim across the Delaware to Gloucester Point.

Both drowned.