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Born April 1, 1983, Rama was the son of Oregon’s first elephant, Rosy, and the famed Packy, the oldest male of his species on the continent.

At around 8,000 pounds, he was the smallest of the zoo’s three bull elephants, and was said to have an unusually sweet temperament, forming close relationships with zoo staff, some of whom cared for him for more than 10 years. He also had a special bond with Chendra, the orphaned female Bornean elephant who arrived at the zoo in 1999.

“They were good friends,” Pfefferkorn said. “They really enjoyed each other’s company.”

Former Rama caregiver Jeb Barsh, now a keeper in the zoo’s Africa section, recalled Rama’s “joyful soul” — perhaps expressed most memorably through his painting, an enrichment activity that grew into something bigger when Rama showed a remarkable enthusiasm for it.

“He would follow me around, just hoping for the opportunity to paint,” Barsh said. “Once he grabbed a brush, there was no holding him back from the canvas.”

Rama’s artistic output was regularly on display at the zoo and was even exhibited at the famous Mark Woolley Gallery in Portland’s Pearl District.

“To contemplate a canvas by the painter Rama,” wrote the critic D.K. Holm in a Portland Mercury review of that show, “is to enter a non-figurative realm of blobs, flips, squiggles, splotches, marks, and splatter … if you had to come up with antecedents, you’d think of Jackson Pollock, Joan Miró, or Paul Klee.”

A memorial event for Rama is being planned, and zoo visitors can offer condolences or share favorite memories of him on the zoo’s Facebook page.

Отсюда.

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