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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