Putting Out the Welcome Mat
In 1953, the Zoo welcomed several newcomers. A trio of sloth bear cubs named Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, after the characters in the children’s nursery rhyme, added a considerable amount of adorable fun—plus, they were the first of this bear species at the Zoo. Another first was a pint-sized pachyderm with an attitude: Peaches, the Zoo’s first African elephant. She was apparently as friendly and eager to please as a puppy with the male keepers, but if a woman tried to make her acquaintance, she’d turn a cool shoulder and refuse to engage. That caused Belle Benchley, who prided herself on being able to win over almost any animal, quite a bit of consternation! There was also a new staff member on the scene that year: mammal curator Dr. George Pournelle (left). He and his family actually lived in a house on Zoo grounds for a while, so his daughters had the Zoo as their backyard.