Jumbo The Elephant
Interesting Facts in Easy English
- adjective: a describing word
- origin: history; background
- handler: a person who looks after and trains an animal
- adored: loved with great affection
- main attraction: the most exciting thing to see or do somewhere
- hide: the thick skin of an animal
- mascot: a character that is used to symbolize a school, organization or team
- What might be the origin of the word “jumbo”?
- Why was Jumbo sold to the circus?
- How did Jumbo die?
Discussion Question: Do you think unique animals like “Jumbo” belong in circuses and zoos? Why or why not?
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Jumbo The Elephant
The adjective “jumbo,” which means unusually large, became a common English word in the nineteenth century after an elephant by the same name arrived at the London Zoo. Jumbo the African elephant arrived in London in 1865. While the origin of the name is uncertain, his Sudanese handler may have named him after the Swahili word “Jumbe” meaning “Chief”. At almost four metres high, Jumbo was the largest known elephant at the time, and became the zoo’s main attraction. Though he was adored by the zoo patrons, the enormous elephant became difficult to control, and in 1882 was sold to P.T. Barnum, of the American Barnum and Bailey Circus. Jumbo’s only trick was showing off his size, and he often toured around the circus ring with a dwarf elephant named Tom Thumb. Jumbo the elephant was hit by a train in Ontario, Canada. His hide was stuffed and used as a mascot at a research university in Boston. His name lives on in the Jumbo Jet, the jumbo sausage, and other elephant-sized things.
- The word “jumbo” may have come from the Swahili word “chief”.
- Jumbo was sold to the circus because he was hard for zookeepers in London to control.
- Jumbo died after he was hit by a train.