Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Hans at Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes

 ☨ ♂ Hans  
Hans displayed as taxidermy specimen.
Hans as taxidermy specimen.

Taxidermy locationBourges Museum of Natural History, Bourges, France



Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Male ♂ 20 years old
Born:* 1782 wild
Birth place: in Sri Lanka unspecified location
Capture: 1784
Freight:by ship from Ceylon, arriving at the port of Flushing in 1786.
Dead: 1802-02-17
Death reason: disease: pneumonia
Present / last location:Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes, in France

Date of Arrival
(Presently sometimes errors!)

1798-03-23Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes
from Het Oude Loo menagerie
Het Oude Loo menagerie 1786-07-17
from Het kleine Loo menagerie
Het kleine Loo menagerie 1784-00-00
from Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company 1784-00-00
from Port of Colombo
Port of Colombo
from Sri Lanka unspecified location

Document updated2009-11-06: previous locations, birth year
2020-10-06: updated locations
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† Hans is a dead Male ♂ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died at Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes, in France, from disease 1802-02-17. Official death reason described as pneumonia.

The Taxidermy remains of this animal is within the Taxidermy collection at Bourges Museum of Natural History, in Bourges, France, since 1931-07-00.

(see detailed list).


Hans was born wild 1782 at Sri Lanka unspecified location, captured 1784 . and imported 1784, by ship from Ceylon, arriving at the port of Flushing in 1786.

Comments / pictures

The male elephant Hans is the oldest taxidermized specimen of elephant still in existence in France.


Around 1783: Born in Ceylon.
1784: Captured with a female (Parkie) and embarked for Holland
1786: Arrival of the two elephants at the port of Flushing. After a visit to Petit Loo, they are kept at the castle of Het Loo, menagerie of the Stadthouder Guillaume V.
Beginning of 1795: Occupation of Belgium and Holland by French troops. Confiscation of the contents of the Cabinet of Natural History and of the living animals of the Stadthouder menagerie.
June 20, 1796: First attempt to transport elephants from The Hague to Paris. Hans breaks his cage to find Parkie.
12 November 1796:Second attempt to transport the elephants. Hans's cart hangs on the iron gate of the park. Jussieu, in Paris, is in despair, he plans to bring the elephants on foot.
September 25, 1797: Third attempt. One hundred horses and a detachment of artillery are mobilized. Elephant carts are mounted on artillery wheels. Most of the route is done by boat, by river but also by sea (they even weather a storm).
March 23, 1798: Three years after the confiscation, and after six months of travel, Hans and Parkie finally arrive at the menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes.
May 29, 1798:Concert offered to the two elephants by sixteen musicians from the Conservatory. On the program: Gluck, Rameau, and trendy arias (Ah ça va, etc).
January 6, 1802: Hans dies of pneumonia.
January-February 1802: Cuvier autopsy and dissects Hans. This will result in various anatomical representations.
January 1802 - end of 1803: Naturalization of the specimen by Dufresne and his team. Use of a wooden mannequin.
July 1931: Arrival in Bourges
Beginning of 1989: Restoration
October 2003: Rediscovery of Hans.

Reference listKoehl, Dan, (2021). Hans, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) located at Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes in France. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 30 July 2021 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:


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  • Categories1802 deaths | Bourges Museum of Natural History Taxidermy | 1782 births | Born in Sri Lanka | 1784 captures | 1784 imports | Elephants from Menagerie du Paris Jardin des Plantes | France | Asian elephants

    This document was updated: 2021-07-01 05:54:18

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