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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

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CURWOOD: Two-hundred-and-five years ago, the first elephant landed in the United States after a sea voyage from Bengal, India. Her name was Candy, and though she was only three years old and still a minor, legend has it that with water in short supply the ship's crew quenched Candy's thirst with dark beer. The brewski-loving elephant delighted the sailors by uncorking bottles with her trunk and guzzling the contents. After docking in New York on April thirteenth, 1796, the ship's captain invited spectators to view Candy's amazing talent. Candy wound up touring the nation for more than 20 years, and the curious paid a quarter for a peek at the pachyderm. Now, Candy's fondness for alcohol wasn't all that unusual. In the wild, both African and Asian elephants seek out fermenting fruits to eat. And in India, herds of thirsty elephants have been known to sniff out and raid caches of beer and then go on drunken rampages through villages and rice paddies. Their suds of choice: Carlsberg Elephant Lager, of course. And for this week that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

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