In The News

40 years after Texas flood trauma, Sissy the Gainesville Elephant takes to water again

Jul 7, 2022

Sissy the Elephant is 54 now. She is one of Texas’ most famous survivors. In 1981, when she was 13, she clung to a treetop by her trunk for 36 hours, treading water, as a deadly flood inundated the Gainesville, Texas, zoo.

Now, a half-century after she originally came to Texas from Thailand as “Sis Flagg,” the star baby elephant of a petting zoo at Six Flags Over Texas, she is finally happy again, playing and cavorting in her own habitat home at a sanctuary in Tennessee. 

This month marked another breakthrough for Sissy, traumatized by that flood at the Frank Buck Zoo and then caged alone, chained and regularly beaten during a vagabond tour of other zoos. After killing a keeper in Gainesville, she was labeled a mad elephant.

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