Elephants, for instance, are well-known for the bonds they form with humans, and zoos in the UK have ample examples of human-pachyderm bonds in captivity. At London Zoo, the famous elephant Jumbo was allegedly attached to his long-time keeper, Matthew Scott. Such was the strength of their bond that there has been some suggestion that Jumbo's departure for the US was so long-winded and problematic because Scott was deliberately sabotaging the efforts. As it turned out, Scott was allowed to travel with Jumbo to P. T. Barnum's ‘Greatest Show on Earth' in the spring of 1882. The story, however, ends in a rather darker hue; Jumbo died when he was hit by a train in 1885. It has recently been suggested that Jumbo was in the last throes of terminal illness and that, such was the strength of feeling that Scott felt for his elephant companion, he preferred for Jumbo to die instantly rather than waste away in pain.
Likewise, at Bristol Zoo, a number of elephants have been involved in relationships with keepers which seem to have been reciprocal. The elephant Rosie, star of stage and screen, (for she had appeared on stage in London and in a Hollywood film) arrived at Bristol Zoo in 1938 with her keeper, Tom Bartlett. Rosie and Bartlett had been together since Rosie's acquisition by a circus in 1931. So strong was the bond between the two that Bartlett set up home in a small shed directly adjoining the elephant house so that he could be by Rosie's side day and night. On the rare occasions in which he left the Zoo to go away on business or on holiday, Rosie supposedly became ‘difficult' to handle. Her relationship with Bartlett was not readily transferred to other keepers. Interestingly, too, Rosie and Bartlett were business partners; during her regular walks up and down the Main Terrace giving children rides on her back, Rosie would supposedly take money from the children and deposit it in Bartlett's pocket... The same appears to have been true of Jumbo and Scott some years earlier.