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Meet Mildred, The Box’s woolly mammoth

The Box has finally been able to give its popular woolly mammoth a name – Mildred.

The old English name dates from Anglo-Saxon times and means ‘gentle strength’. It was suggested by six people as part of a competition that ran earlier this summer. They include a local mum who took part on behalf of her 21-month old son. All six were thrilled to learn their suggestion had been chosen.

The competition to name the life sized furry female received a whopping 1,316 suggestions from members of the public.

The woolly mammoth has been a big hit with visitors since The Box opened last autumn and is a focal point in the natural history gallery which is filled with thousands of specimens from our collections.

Fossils show that woolly mammoths were roaming around Plymouth 35,000 years ago. They became extinct at the end of the last Ice Age, amid a warming climate and widespread human hunting.

Councillor Mark Deacon, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Culture, Leisure and Sport said:

The ‘Name our mammoth’ competition had a brilliant response with a wide range of suggestions – some of which were really clever and some of which really made us laugh. We’ve gone for something quite traditional in the end, but with some real meaning behind it. The Box’s natural history gallery includes a lot of information about climate change and the mammoth is a symbol of how fierce yet fragile nature can be. It makes a name that means ‘gentle strength’ a really fitting choice.

The winning entrants in the naming competition are (in alphabetical order) Melvyn Griffiths, Nicola Johns, Jo Kerswill, Ann Lewis, Oliver Roberts – nominated by mum Rachael Eadie – and Tammy Walker. They visited The Box last week to see the woolly mammoth and receive some mammoth-themed prizes.

To meet Mildred for yourselves you can visit The Box from 10am-5pm Tuesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays. Entry is free and there is no need to book a ticket.

More about Mildred

  • Mildred was created in Minnesota, USA by Blue Rhino Studio – a company that specialises in interpretive design and fabrication for museums around the world.
  • She began life as a detailed clay model that captured her mass, pose, gesture and scale before being sculpted at full-size.
  • Mildred’s fur was applied by hand to create an amazingly realistic finish. She has the same fur as Chewbacca from Star Wars!
  • She was shipped from America to England in three sections and then assembled on site in the natural history gallery at The Box.
  • Woolly mammoths are one of the most iconic creatures from the Ice Age and were a very successful species for thousands of years before they became extinct. As a symbol of something our planet has lost, Mildred highlights both the brilliance and vulnerability of nature.


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