Sheila, Denise and the Belfast Blitz.


Belfast was heavily bombed by the Nazis in April and May of 1941, with some 900 people dying.

There were fears of animals at the zoo escaping and stampeding, so orders were given to shoot some of them.

A woman named Denise Weston Austin, one of the zoo’s first female zookeepers, decided to save a baby elephant named Sheila.

Baby elephant, Sheila, who was moved out of Belfast zoo because of fears of a hit from bombers during the Belfast Blitz of 1941.ele2

Because she had high walls around the back of her house, she knew she could hide the animal at night.

Every night after the zoo closed, she sneaked the elephant home on foot, and then returned her in the morning.

Belfast Blitz Sheila the Elepahnt Denise

Sheila survived the war, but died in 1966.

Austin died in 1997, but the identity of the “Elephant Angel” was not discovered until 2009, when a public appeal was launched to find her.

Picture sources:


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