Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at
Unknown in Unknown

dead elephant ☨ ♂ Bosco  dead elephant



Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Male ♂, unknown age
Status:Lost to follow-up
Born:* wild
Birth place: in Asia unspecified location
Death location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Death reason: :
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Unknown, in Unknown

Date of arrival

from Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt)

Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt)
from Carlo Brothers Circus

1885-03-16Carlo Brothers Circus
from Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt)

Carl Hagenbecks Tierpark (Neue Pferdemarkt)
from Bremerhafen

from Firma Carl Hagenbeck

Firma Carl Hagenbeck
from Asia unspecified location

Record history
History of updates2018-05-08

Latest document update2023-02-26 09:52:07
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This record may be a duplicate record with Bosco at Rio de Janeiro Zoo (Vila Isabel)

† Bosco is a dead Lost to follow-up Male ♂ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died at Unknown, in Unknown, .


Bosco was born wild at Asia unspecified location.

Comments / pictures

The Argentinean Bosco it is the same one that in the year 1886 act in the Italian Opera House "Alla Scala", Milan, in the ballet "Amor" with others animals.

Frank Brown buys Bosco in Hagenbeck Park in Hamburg (this history is related in the Hagenbeck book "Animals and beasts" edited in 1910) there Hagenbeck relates that Bosco was a very intelligent elephant, after a short time Frank Brown return Bosco with Hagenbeck and he sold it again.

After being sold to a menagerie in Argentina, Bosco returned to Europe two years later, and was reunited with Carl.

Among my elephant acquaintances, the bad characters and invalids are exceptions; a far larger number are engraved in my memory for their intelligence, good nature, and loyalty. The most docile and amiable elephant I have ever owned was a beautiful seven-foot male that I received from a Hamburg merchant about twenty years ago. This specimen was graced with Tusks two foot long. When this elephant was offered for sale to me, it was still sailing, still in transit. According to letters shown to me, it was an exceptionally tame animal. I don't generally like buying male elephants as they can become vicious intermittently after reaching a certain age. However, a visit on board after the ship had arrived showed me that it was indeed a tame animal.

It was late autumn. The poor passenger was stowed on deck, in the open air, and trembling all over from the cold. In addition, the weather was miserable, and the animal was in a deplorable condition. It was ailing, as I could see from the nature of its excrement. With the consent of the seller, I first brought the animal to Neue Pferdemarkt to see whether the elephant's state of health could be improved. A good, warm stable, a nice bed of straw, and careful care, personally supervised by me, worked wonders. The animal recovered noticeably and after only eight days I was able to buy it permanently. The animal's Intelligence and good nature were immediately apparent. I have never seen a more affectionate elephant than this one. After only a few days of nursing him, he would call me by trumpeting as soon as he heard my footsteps or voice, and would then beg for the extra bite I used to give him. In a short time, we were best friends. I named the elephant "Bosco" and it was by this name that he later played a major role in the circus world.

Very soon, after just four weeks, Bosco found an admirer in an American menagerie owner who was about to embark on a long journey, for the American's circus was in Buenos Aires. However, the buyer demanded that Bosco first be trained to perform various tricks. For this I asked for a period of six weeks and meanwhile sold the guest a Group of beautiful, trained lions that was already available as a show piece for his circus, which were sent to Buenos Aires on one of the next steamers, accompanied by their tamer. Bosco’s buyer stayed in Hamburg to take the elephant himself. We began training Bosco and experienced miracles. All elephants are intelligent, but the ease with which this one understood everything that was asked of him was simply fabulous. It wasn't just brains, it was talent. Within a few days he learned the usual barrel work, such as used to be shown in all menageries. We taught him to sit down and lie down in one day. The slightest suggestion was enough, the animal literally accommodated us. Four weeks had not yet passed when Bosco could walk on bottles, stand on his hind legs and on his front legs, sit down at a set table, pull the bell and have a monkey serve him, drink from a bottle and take food from a plate. In short, he had become a consummate artist. After about six weeks the American left delighted with Bosco and had such extraordinary success over there with this animal that he always played to a full house and earned a lot of money. The Group of lions also brought him a rich income. Four months later, the happy owner of Bosco was back in Europe with his pockets full of money. He wanted to make more purchases. I helped him to do that and he left satisfied

I saw my friend Bosco again, and in the most surprising way. Two years had passed when I returned from a trip one day and was immediately informed that Bosco had meanwhile returned from America and was standing in our stable. It was already quite late in the evening, but I felt as if an old friend had come to visit, I could not contain my impatience and went straight to the stable, holding some bread rolls as a welcome gift. It was almost dark in the menagerie. At the door, I called out a loud "Hello, Bosco," and the answer was a joyful shout from afar. As I approached, the elephant made those contented gurgling sounds one hears from these animals when they are excited, and when he could reach me, he grabbed my arm, pulled me very close and licked my whole face while gurgling. It was really touching to see the animal's joy when it met its old master again after a two-year absence. If, however, one considers that Bosco was in my possession for only six weeks, albeit in the most intimate contact with me, this reunion scene is striking evidence of the elephant’s long memory.

My friend, the American circus man, was a very smart fellow. After Bosco stayed with me for a year, his master came, bought a female elephant with a baby, and returned to Buenos Aires with all three elephants. Here he had previously launched the crazy but effective advertisement that Bosco had been specially sent to Europe to get married here. Now he would come back with his wife and child to present himself again to the honoured public of Buenos Aires with his family. As a result of this happy speculation, the American again made a roaring trade.
Carl Hagenbeck, Beasts & men; Being Experiences for Half a Century Among Wild Animals

According to the Hagenbeck book “Beasts and Men”, Bosco was sold to the US.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Bosco, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) located at Unknown in Unknown. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 12 June 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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CategoriesLost to follow-up | Elephants from Unknown | Unknown | Asian elephants

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