Prince (Tommy) at Dublin Zoo

EEP Number: 671 -  Prince (Tommy)
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Male, unknown years
Dead date: 1882
Death reason: unknown:
Location:Dublin Zoo
ArrivedDublin Zoo from Sandringham Zoo
Sandringham Zoo 1871-08-25
from London Zoo
London Zoo 1871-06-03
from Duke Alfred of Edinburgh
Duke Alfred of Edinburgh 1871-00-00
from Jang Bahadur
Born: wild
Records about Prince (Tommy) from EEPEuropean Studbook for Asian elephants state following records for the asian elephant Prince (Tommy):

671 M ~ Jul 1867 UNK UNK PUBLIC ~ Jan 1871 NONE Transfer TOMMY/PRIN
LONDON RP ~15 Jun 1871 935 Loan to
PUBLIC 25 Aug 1871 NONE ltf Transfer

Source: EEP studbook for Asian elephants online


Tom was a gift from Jang Bahadur of Nepal to Alfred, Duke of Edinbourgh, in March 1871, and was shipped out of Calcutta on the ship H.M.S. Galatea, where the duke was commander. The first week, Tom was cared for by his Indian mahout, who left the ship in Madras, later by a corproral of the marine artillery, Mr. William Paton.

On arrival in Plymouth, William Paton was assisted by two gentlemen from London Zoo, C. Bartlett and Mr Smart.

Paton managed to get the elephant onboard the train, but after the train reached full speed, Tom pannicked and crushed the wall between him and his keeper. When trying to keep him back, Paton was crushed against a wall, and died later, before the train arrived in London.

Tom was later brought to Dublin Zoo, where his owner, the Duke of Edinburgh also came to visit him.


Prince Tom gave rides on a howdah and ‘purchased’ buns from the shop with coins provided by visitors.

Colourful reports in the newspapers suggested that Prince Tom was a docile animal who was relaxed and safe with visitors. This was not true because, on more than one occasion, he had ‘broken loose and endangered himself and others’.

When the Duke of Edinburgh asked that Prince Tom be brought around to the Viceregal Lodge where he was staying on a brief visit, the council had to admit that the elephant was too dangerous for such a walk.

Prince Tom lived in Dublin Zoo until 1882 but his last years were spent in the restricted area of his house and a small yard. When he died, he was drawn on a float to Trinity College Department of Anatomy where he was dissected with the aid of shears, ropes and pulleys. His skeleton is now in Trinity College Zoological Museum.

How Dublin zoo has morphed, by Catherine de Courcy

Records about Prince (Tommy) was updated
2012-05-27: eep nr

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