Some monuments put up to ensure that an animal or group of animals is remembered forever have been so large or frankly bizarre that they cannot escape our notice. Here are few of the notable sites of animal remembrance.
Monument to Laboratory Mice
Lab mice and rats have allowed us to make huge strides in medicine, genetics, and a number of other fields. At one research center in Russia, it was decided that the role of these rodents in our advancement should be marked with a memorial.
At the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, you will find a small bronze statue of a mouse. The jolly-looking creature is knitting the double helix of DNA, which lab rodents have done so much to help us unravel.
Cheese mites love to eat protein and fat, rich foods, whether that is dead human skin or a rich cheese. Some cheeses are thought to benefit from a mite infestation. One comes from Germany and is called Milbenkase (“Mite Cheese”). The cheese makers of Wurchwitz specifically add mites to their product to help age the cheese.
To celebrate the creatures’ role in this culinary delight, the cheese makers have erected a statue to the humble cheese mite.
Hi Jolly Camel Corps
In Arizona, there is a monument to a man known as Hi Jolly who was hired by the US Army to introduce camels to the United States. It was thought that camels would be ideal beasts of burden in the desert states of the South. In 1856–57, 77 camels were imported to the US to test this theory. The experiment was a fiasco as other animals were terrified of the camels. However, the camels were successful in crossing the desert regions of the Southwest, able to eat the scrub vegetation available. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the camel corps was disbanded. Many of the camels were set free and became wild herds. None survive now. In fact, the only reminder of this strange camel experiment is a pyramid topped by a camel that marks the last camp of Hi Jolly.
The Sacrificed Donkey
In 2017, shareholders of a Chinese zoo decided that they were not getting enough return on their investment. They entered the zoo determined to capture some of the animals and take them outside to sell to anyone who wanted them.
For some reason, they chose a donkey and a goat as the ideal animals with which to raise funds. When security tried to stop them, the shareholders pushed the donkey into an enclosure holding tigers.
A statue of the donkey was set up just one month later. An inscription on the side tells us about the donkey’s life. “I was born in the country on the farm. I should have grown up to have children and enjoy life on earth. This monument is calling for justice. I died in vain and should be remembered.”
Monkey Massacre Memorial
According to local legend, a train crash happened nearby in the early 20th century at Johns Creek in Georgia. This train was carrying the animals for a circus, and a troop of monkeys managed to escape and flee into the woods. The local farmers, unsure exactly what these creatures were, opened fire, and thus, the Monkey Massacre occurred.
In the 1990s, a local artist donated a group of stone monkeys to the city to mark the spot of this terrible slaughter. City officials hope the memorial will act as a reminder to visitors that shooting an unknown creature dead is not the only option.
Brooklyn Bridge Elephant Stampede Memorial
In 1929, crowds gathered to watch circus elephants, including the famous elephant Jumbo, march across the bridge. When the elephants panicked, they charged through and over the people lining the route and many people died. In reality, there was no elephant stampede.
The artist who created this statue has previous experience when it comes to memorializing fictional events. However, fake news can be hard to dismiss when it is cast in bronze.
Boll Weevil Monument
Enterprise, Alabama, calls itself the “City of Progress.” Throughout its history, the city has faced several crises and none was more challenging than the arrival of the boll weevil. The boll weevil is an agricultural pest that feeds on the buds and flowers of cotton plants. The farmers of Enterprise were forced to diversify their crops, and peanuts turned out to be ideally suited to the land. Soon, Enterprise was flourishing as one of the great peanut-producing centers of the country.
Laika the dog was the first animal to be sent into orbit around Earth. This was quite the achievement for a stray dog found living on the streets of Moscow. Laika survived on Sputnik 2 for around five hours before succumbing to overheating. It was only in 2008, 51 years after her flight, that a memorial was put in place to celebrate Laika’s flight. Placed outside a military research station, the statue shows Laika perched on a rocket which transforms into a hand that cups the dog.