Arts, Culture & Media

Geo answer

Today's Geo Quiz is something of a mystery. A zoo located in a city on the east coast of Northern Ireland turns 75 this year.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

The city and its zoo barely survived World War II. German bombers blitzed the city in April, 1941. 200 planes targeted the city's factories and shipyards, the same shipyards where the Titanic was built decades earlier.

Shelia the elephantShelia the elephant

One thousand people were killed and half of the city's houses were destroyed. The zoo was forced to euthanize it's dangerous animals for fear they'd get loose. But one elephant somehow managed to survive:

"There's a zoo legend about the lady who took care of the elephant during the second world war, but when we stated to think about it, we knew so little this is 1941, 60+ years ago, and pieces of info any snippets would be a great help to us."

Shelia the elephantShelia the elephant

So who came forward to rescue the zoo's baby elephant? And what city's zoo are we talking about?

Guess away!

For our quiz today, we're looking for a city whose zoo is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The answer is the Belfast Zoo in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

There are few people still around who remember the zoo's early days back in the 1930's and 40's. Zookeeper Mark Challis is trying to reconstruct some of the dramatic moments from the zoo's early history. He's trying to solve a mystery that goes back to 1941, and that involves an elephant named Sheila. Listen to our interview:

From the Belfast Zoo website:

The zoo has many unusual stories from its 75 year history but perhaps this could be the most curious. To mark our birthday, we are looking for our ?elephant angel', a mystery woman who looked after a baby elephant during World War II.

In 1941, many of the animals in the zoo were killed because of public safety fears during the Belfast Blitz. The Ministry of Public Security ordered that 33 zoo animals be killed in case they escaped from the zoo during the air raids. They included a hyena, six wolves, a puma, a tiger, a black bear, two polar bears and a lynx.

But Sheila, a baby elephant, was protected and taken to the home of the unknown ?elephant angel' who looked after Sheila in her back garden. It is believed she was local to North Belfast but her identity remains a mystery.

If you have any information that might help us find the family of this remarkable lady, email.