White Star Line’s Noah’s Ark

White Star Line’s Noah’s Ark

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Tauric (1891) must have looked like White Star Line’s Noah’s Ark as she steamed into New York harbor from Liverpool on 7 March 1894. Actually, Tauric was carrying Sir Francis Wombwell’s “Noah’s Ark,” a collection of trained animals, for a scheduled two-year US tour.

Upon arrival in Manhattan nearly 300 animals disembarked, including 12 lions, eight panthers, six bears, ten hyenas, an elephant and various monkeys and other critters. The animals had occupied a dozen large caravans lashed onto Tauric’s upper decks.

It was, as the saying goes, an eventful crossing.

According to a New York World report, a Brahmin bull “smashed through his wagon” on 5 March in heavy seas. The creature was about to stampede overboard when a sailor “expertly lassoed and secured him.”

Lion tamer Alexis Canot, meanwhile, had an exciting fight with a “great ant-eater, a beast weighing about 60 pounds.” The incident took place shortly after Tauric sailed from Liverpool. “Canot was cleaning out the cage when the animal bit him so severely in the leg that the wounds had to be cauterized and Canot was taken to the hospital as soon as the Tauric was docked,” the World reported.

It must have been a voyage to remember.

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