The youngest son of the late Packy and Rosy, Oregon Zoo’s most prestigious pachyderms, Rama was destined for fame. Renowned as the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years, Packy was born at the Oregon Zoo in 1962. Packy's mother, Belle, was born in the wild in Thailand around 1952, and his father, Thonglaw, was born in Cambodia around 1947.
In 1962, the zoo set a record of over a million visitors, a record not matched until 27 years later in 1989. People came from all over the world to see the baby elephant. Packy’s rare birth received international media attention, including an 11-page spread in Life Magazine in 1962. At 12 feet tall from head to toe, the impressively handsome Packy was one of the tallest elephants in the United States. He was knighted by the Royal Rosarians as Sir Packy in celebration of his fiftieth birthday in 2012.
Packy’s son, Rama was born on April Fool’s Day in 1983. Rama inherited his friendly personality from his mother, Rosy. Rama was the smallest of four bulls in the herd, weighing roughly 8,270 pounds. In contrast, in 2008, his dad Packy weighed over 14,500 pounds.
Rama began painting as a form of enrichment, leading to his career as Oregon’s ‘biggest’ artist and extraordinary abstract expressionist. Highly intelligent, Rama quickly learned how to paint with his trunk freely choosing to paint at every opportunity, his ears coming out as he shook his head, showing interest and excitement. He seemed to relish every moment of the creative interactions.
RAMA, A NAME WITH POWER: In ancient Sanskrit, only two mantra are called taaraka, (that which can ferry you across) and they are OM and RAMA, words of great significance. In Hinduism, it is said that the repetition of the two life giving letters, ra and ma, are deeply purifying.
Rama, the son of the great king of Adyodhya in India, lived with great integrity and courage in spite of a long, arduous journey filled with harsh challenges and tests. Rama returned from a long exile and was crowned King and then Emperor, ruling with justice, prosperity, peace and happiness. Rama is the symbol of The Perfect Man and the Lord of Virtue, who, it is said will come again in a time of great need.
Back to Calley or Jeb
Jeb Barsh and Rama the elephant in a creative outdoor training session at the Oregon Zoo.
An International Traveling Exhibition of Endangered Species
Dedicated to the Children of the World by Calley O'Neill with Rama the Elephant
AN EPIC JOURNEY OF ART AND SOUL FOR THE EARTH
RAMA: AMBASSADOR FOR THE ENDANGERED ONES
Speaking Passionately on Behalf of Those who Cannot Speak