Founded 1865, Hannover Zoo bought its first elephant in 1872. Hannover Zoo were leased by Firma Ruhe (Hermann Ruhe) 1931 to 1971, and was during those years a transit location for a lot of elephants, later sold elsewhere. "Hannover Zoo old, the fourth-oldest in Germany, inaugurated in 1865…The zoo did as well as any in a large, provincial German town over the decades, and suffered as most others did during the First World War, the post-war years of inflation, and the Great Depression. In 1931 it was leased to the wild-animal traders of L. Ruhe in nearby Alfeld. Ruhe, founded in 1860 and thus older than the zoo, had established itself during the inter-war years as the premier animal dealership in Europe. The lease would hold until 1971, and gave visitors to Hannover Zoo over the years an opportunity to see rare and unusual animals that would otherwise seldom make it into a provincial menagerie."
Due to World-War II, all elephants were transfered to Ruhe in Alfeld between 1944 and 1946).
Due to the amount of animals, and also probably the competence of their keepers, Hannover was fortunate in breeding elephants, and was record keeper in Europe for a long time. This was partly also because they kept bulls in free contact, by means of the head elephantkeeper Wolfgang Ramin, who had worked with the bulls before at Circus Knie.
During the 80s, breeding was less common, however a stillbirth is recorded from the cow Jenny, sired by Siporex, a second Zoo generation bull, born in Ahlborg Zoo in Denmark.
In june 1988 the bull Siporex attacked head elephant keeper Rolf Amelung during training performance, and had to be kept off-hand since then. Later his feet got worse, and he was finally euthanised.
During this period Hannover Zoo also shipped their last african elephants to Basel Zoo in Switzerland.
Photo: Stefan Aspegren
Also after the new house was built, Hannover Zoo keeps its tradition with classical free-contact training, and has lately once again success in breeding, after the import of the elephant bull Calvin from Canada.
Previous head elephantkeeper Rolf Amelung training the elephants in the old out enclosure in December 1981. Photo: Wayne A. Jackson, Canada