War vet elephant bows out
Lin Wang is thought to have been the world's oldest Asian elephant.
TAIPEI, Taiwan (Reuters) -- Lin Wang, an 86-year-old Asian elephant taken prisoner by Chinese troops in World War Two, died of old age on Wednesday at Taipei Zoo.
In his youth the venerable beast, known to Taiwan children as Grandpa Lin, dragged Japanese army cannon and supplies through the jungles of Burma, now known as Myanmar, until his capture in 1943.
Then a sprightly 26, Lin continued his army service on the Chinese mainland and later on Taiwan. In 1954, he was retired to the zoo in the company of a female elephant, Ma Lan.
The island's children loved him, and the zoo threw birthday parties for him each year. The people of Taiwan mourned his death by burning paper money and lighting incense.
A zoo statement said Lin, in poor spirits since Ma Lan died last year, fell sick a few days ago and stopped taking food.
It appealed for T$5 million (US$144,000) in contributions to preserve the body of Lin, believed to have been the world's oldest Asian elephant.