Asian elephant Lin Wang was so widely revered that he eventually earned the affectionate nickname “Grandpa Lin.” During World War II, he hauled supplies through Burma for the Japanese army until he was captured (along with 12 other elephants) by the Chinese in 1943. From there, he continued his dutiful military service in China and, later, Taiwan. In 1954, he retired at a Taipei zoo, where he lived until his death in 2003. Guinness World Records considers the creature, who was 86 when he died, to be the oldest elephant who ever lived. But Grandpa Lin was more than just an impressively old elephant — he was a cultural icon, a creature whose legacy is woven into several countries’ histories.