Back at the height of his fame, Michael Jackson had a full private zoo on his Neverland Ranch. But before his death, Jackson dismantled that zoo, sending many of the animals to live at wildlife enclosures and public zoos. And this past weekend, Ali, one of the elephants that Jackson had once owned, briefly escaped from his home at Florida’s Jacksonville Zoo.
Ali, the elephant who escaped, was not the elephant that Elizabeth Taylor gave to Jackson as a present in 1991. (That one was named Gypsy.) This one, a bull elephant who arrived at the zoo in 1997, walked through a gate that had been accidentally left open — an elephant gate, it turns out, is the kind of thing that you can leave open by accident — and wandered over to the giraffe area. Zookeepers walked him back home, luring him with food. The zoo says that guests were never in danger, and Ali was out of his cage for only 20 minutes. Here’s the account of the escape from the zoo’s Facebook page:
Meanwhile, Bubbles, Jackson’s famous chimpanzee friend, is also living in Florida these days. He’s at the Center For Great Apes in Wauchula, and he celebrated his 35th birthday back in March.