Toung Taloung
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at
P. T. Barnum in United States

dead elephant ☨ ♂ Toung Taloung  dead elephant
<q>Drawing of Toung Taloung from the Scientific American, Supplement, New York, March 8, 1884, after the London Graphic, done while the animal was at Regents Park.</q> <cite>Richard Reynolds</cite>
Drawing of Toung Taloung from the Scientific American, Supplement, New York, March 8, 1884, after the London Graphic, done while the animal was at Regents Park. Richard Reynolds
Alternative name: Toug-Toulog, Toung-Taloung, Buddha


EEP nr843


Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Male ♂
Born:* wild
Birth place: in Myanmar unspecified location
Imported:1884 by P. T. Barnum
Freight:by the steamship Tenasserim to Liverpool, and with Lydian Monarch to Jersey City, New Jersey
Dead: 1887-11-20
Death reason: accident: in a fire at Bridgeport , CT. winter quarters
Locations - owners
Present / last location:P. T. Barnum, in United States

Date of arrival

1885-00-00P. T. Barnum
from Barnum and London Circus

1884-03-28Barnum and London Circus
from Port of New York and New Jersey

1884-03-28Port of New York and New Jersey
from Port of Liverpool

1884-03-08Port of Liverpool
from London Zoo

London Zoo
from Port of Liverpool

1884-01-14Port of Liverpool 1884-01-14
from Port of Rangoon

Port of Rangoon
from J. B. Gaylord

J. B. Gaylord
from King Thibaw Min of Burmah

King Thibaw Min of Burmah
from Myanmar unspecified location

Record history
History of updates2024-03-10

Latest document update2022-04-08 04:49:56
Relevant literature
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† Toung Taloung is a dead Male ♂ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died 1887-11-20 at P. T. Barnum, in United States, . Official death reason described as in a fire at Bridgeport , CT. winter quarters.


Toung Taloung was born wild at Myanmar unspecified location. and imported 1884 by P. T. Barnum, by the steamship Tenasserim to Liverpool, and with Lydian Monarch to Jersey City, New Jersey

Comments / pictures

Records about Toung Taloung from EEPEuropean Studbook for Asian elephants state following records for the asian elephant Toung Taloung:

843 F ???? UNK UNK PUBLIC ~ Jan 1884 NONE Transfer TOUNG TALO
LONDON RP 18 Mar 1884 974 Loan to
PUBLIC ~ Dec 1884 NONE ltf Transfer

Source: EEP studbook for Asian elephants online

1884: He (Barnum) sent an agent, J. B. Gaylord, to Siam, with orders to buy or hire from the King, one of these creatures. The Siamese court met the proposition with an indignant refusal. Nothing daunted, Mr. Gaylord heard of a white elephant owned by a Siamese nobleman. He agreed to pay 100,000 dollars for it. It was smuggled down to Moulmein (Mawlamyaing), Burma (Myanmar), but, when on the point of being being transshipped to Singapore, it died of poison intentionally administered by some unknown person. Nil desperandum is Mr. Barnuns motto. He now offered 200,000 dollars for a sacred white elephant. This aroused the zeal of hundreds of active fortune hunters, and at length, after months of diplomacy and bribery, a sacred white elephant was purchased from King Theebaw of Burmah, the royal documents which record the transaction setting fort its genuineness. This creature is seven Feet six inches high, and of a piebald color. His face, ears, the front of his trunk, and his front feet, and part of his breast are of a pinkish flesh color; the rest of his body is of light ashen hue. He arrived at Liverpool last seek by the steamship Tenasserim, and was at once taken on a special car, by the London and North-Western Railway Company, to the Zoological Gardens in the Regents Park. In his own country this elephant was called Toung Taloung, a name which the sailors on board the Tenesserim modified, after their custom, into "Old Tounge." As regards the adjective this is misnomer, the new comer, being only fifteen years old, is still in his boyhood. He has been re christened Buddah. His Tusks are are remarkably fine. At the Zoological Gardens he occupies the apartment formerly tenanted by the much lamented Jumbo. who went last year (actually 1882) to push his fortunes in the New World. The house in question has been done up for his reception, and the walls and pilasters in front of the stall have been draped in green baize. On Saturday and Sunday last Buddha held grand receptions, and, despite the season of the year, the Zoo was crowded . Much interest was felt in Buddhas mahout, Radum Raddi, a half-breed Burmese, from the neighborhood of Mandalay. He was dressed in full national costume, and the contrast between the white of his dress and his dark, flowing hair was most picturesque. People were undeniably disappointed in Buddhas color. They had hoped to see a creature looking as Jumbo might look, supposing him to have previously tumbled into a gigantic flour bin. -Why do they call him white? asked a puzzled lady. -Well maam, was the reply, hes not werry white, perhaps, but then you see hes werry sacred
Scientific American, Supplement, New York, March 8, 1884

The Lydian Monarch had been sighted from Fire Island and was expected in Jersey City that evening. Everybody in New York City was already buzzing about what was on board. It was March 28, 1884, and P. T. Barnum, the circus proprietor and showman, after great effort and expense, had brought the first “sacred white elephant” to America. An earlier attempt to buy a white elephant from Siam (Thailand) had ended in failure, but now Barnum’s agent, J. B. Gaylord, had successfully purchased an elephant named “Toung Taloung” — or “Gem of the Sky” — from King Thibaw of Burma. From Rangoon, Toung Taloung was brought by ship through the Suez Canal, and arrived in Liverpool, England on January 14. After several weeks at the London Zoological Gardens where it became something of a sensation in both the British and American press, the white elephant, its handlers, and Barnum’s agents eventually sailed for New York on March 8. When the Lydian Monarch arrived twenty days later, Barnum and his entourage rushed to New Jersey to meet Toung Taloung.

Toung Taloung, the famous white elephant, which I brought from Burmah (sic), cost me $200,000. Like the public, I was greatly disappointed in him. He was as genuine a white elephant as ever existed, but, in fact, there was never such an animal known. The white spots are simply diseased blotches. My white elephant was burned to death at Bridgeport in November, 1887, and I cant say that I grieved much over his loss.
P.T. Barnum, The Wild Beasts, Birds And Reptiles Of The World: The Story Of Their Capture

Toung Taloung in P. T. Barnum
"Toug-Toulog" the sacred white elephant was imported to the Barnum & London Show in 1884 and thus began the famous White Elephant War between Barnum and his rival Adam Forepaugh who simply painted an elephant white. Since Albino elephants are actually somewhat gray in color, Barnums elephant was something of a disappointment whereas Forepaughs (John) was as white as the driven snow, leading to charges and counter charges of fakery. Three years later "Toug-Toulog" and three other elephants were lost in a winter quarters fire in Bridgeport on Nov.20, 1887. "John" on the other hand, had a long career with the Forepaugh Show, 4-Paw-Sells, Ringling Bros., and Ringling-Barnum before his death at the Sarasota Quarters on Jan. 16, 1932."
William Buckles Woodcock

Toung Taloung in P. T. Barnum
Drawing from Illustrated London News
Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Toung Taloung, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) located at P. T. Barnum in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 15 April 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories1887 deaths | Born in Myanmar | EEP | 1884 imports | Elephants from P. T. Barnum | United States | Asian elephants

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