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Lolrus is the nickname given to the subject of two image macros featuring an elephant seal with a blue bucket. The photographs spawned a series of other image macros featuring pinnipeds and other animals referencing buckets.
The original photographs were taken of the southern elephant seal Minazo raised in Japan’s Enoshima Aquarium. Minazo was known for his signature pose in which he would hold a bucket against his torse while sticking his tongue out of his mouth. The earliest known posting of Minazo holding a bucket with the caption “I has a bucket” was in a YTMND page created by user ZombiePirate on July 24th, 2006, which was accompanied by the theme song from the television game show The Price is Right.
On December 23rd, 2006 Flickr user T-Bisqit uploaded an image macro featuring a photograph of Minazo holding a bucket with the caption “I has a bucket”, followed by another photograph of an aquarium employee next to Minazo with the caption “Noooo they be stealin’ my bucket” (shown below). While the image macro is rumored to have originated on 4chan, no threads featuring the image have been archived prior to 2007.
On October 7th, 2005, The Japan Times reported that Minazo died at the age of 11 after his appetite rapidly declined the day before.
Minazo. On June 27th, 2006, the Japanese noise musician Masami Akita (a.k.a. Merzbow) released a tribute to Minazo in a two-part album featuring Minazo’s likeness as the cover art (shown below).
On January 4th, 2007, the Internet humor blog I Can Has Cheezburger highlighted the “I Has a Bucket” image macro in a post that received over 3,900 Facebook shares within six years. On February 6th, the image macro was featured on the single serving site IHasABucket.com. On April 24th, Urban Dictionary user Chupac submitted an entry for “lolrus”, which defined the term as “a walrus who has lost a bucket.” On September 12th, the meme was referenced in a Jeopardy thread on 4chan’s /b/ (random) board (shown below).
On January 27th, 2008, the Internet humor blog Neatorama published a post mistakenly reporting that Minazo had recently died, before updating the post with a correction that the seal had passed away in 2005. On December 15th, 2010, I Can Has Cheezburger published a post titled “The Story of the Lolrus”, which featured a fictional account of the elephant seal’s history accompanied by several notable image macros. The meme has spread on the microblogging site Tumblr under the tags “#lolrus” and “#i has a bucket.” As of August 20th, 2012, a Facebook page titled “Lolrus” has accumulated over 1,800 likes.