Shanti an Asian elephant at Berlin Zoo

☨ Shanti
ID nr:
Species: Asian elephant
Sex and age:Female ♀ 28 years old
Dead date: 1975-06-29
Death reason: disease: sepsis and fracture in pelvis after fights
Location:Berlin Zoo
ArrivalBerlin Zoo 1950-00-00
from Firma Carl Hagenbeck
Born:* 1947 wild India
Document updated2012-04-19: 
Gift from Pandit Nehru.


In 1949, Pandit Nehru sent an elephant named Indira as a 'messenger of good-
will' from New Delhi to Tokyo. The letter accompanying it ran :

'Dear Children,

'I am very glad to be sending you one of our elephants, as you
wished. It is a good elephant, very well brought up, and, so I am
told, endowed with all the good virtues. Please do not treat it as a
present from me, but as one from the children of India to the
children of Japan.

'Children resemble each other in many ways everywhere in the
world. It is only when you begin to grow up that you get different
opinions. Unhappily, when that happens, you often come into
conflict.

'We must put an end to these clashes between grown-ups. It is
my hope that, when they are older, the children of India and Japan
will not serve only their own countries, but also the cause of peace
and co-operation in the whole of Asia and the world. So you must
see in this elephant called Indira a messenger of the love and good-
will of the children of India.

'Elephants are noble animals, and are much beloved in India.
They set India a very good example. They are brave, patient, strong
and yet gentle. I hope that we shall all come to be like that.'

This, word for word, was the message of the Indian Prime Minister.
Three years later, the elephant Shanti reached the Berlin Zoo on a
similar mission. But that young Madame Elephant was spared the
exertions of her predecessor, Abulabas. The firm of Carl Hagenbeck
bought her a ship's passage, and also made sure that she got on the
right train at Hamburg.


Animals Are My Life, by Lorenz Hagenbeck

Reference list

Koehl, D., (2020). Shanti, an Asian at Berlin Zoo in Germany. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 31 October 2020 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=3959. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Animals Are My Life, by Lorenz Hagenbeck
  • Elefanten in Berlin by Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, Berlin Zoo

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