Fénykövi elephant
African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) at
Cuando River region in Angola

dead elephant ☨ ♂ Fénykövi elephant  dead elephant
Fénykövi elephant displayed as museum specimen.
Fénykövi elephant as museum specimen. The worlds largest elephant preserved in the National History Museum, Washington, USA.
Alternative name: Henry
Taxidermy locationWashington National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, United States



Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Male ♂
Body height: 3.96 meter, 13.0 feet
Body weight: 11000.00 kg, 24200.00 lbs
Born:* wild
Birth place: in Africa unspecified location
Dead: 1955-11-13
Death location: Cuando River region
Death reason: hunted: shot by Hungarian hunter Josef J. Fénykövi
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Cuando River region, in Angola

Date of arrival

Cuando River region
Record history
History of updates2011-12-30: 

Latest document update2021-07-04 20:15:49
Random literature

† Fénykövi elephant is a dead Male ♂ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), , who died 1955-11-13 at Cuando River region, in Angola, . Official death reason described as shot by Hungarian hunter Josef J. Fénykövi.

Museum locationThe Museum specimen remains of this animal is within the collection at Washington National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, DC, United States, since 1955-00-00.


Fénykövi elephant was born wild at Africa unspecified location.

Comments / pictures

Fénykövi elephant in Cuando River region
The largest elephant on record was an Adult male African elephant hunted by Jose Fenykovi from Madrid in Angola in 1955.

1953: The TORCH article notes that Fénykövi donated the elephant to the museum in 1953. However, according to the Smithsonian Institution's Annual Reports, the elephant was not accessioned by the museum until 1957.

1955: J.J. Fénykövi, an European big-game hunter, donates a 2-ton elephant hide to the National Museum of Natural History. William Brown (Smithsonian chief taxidermist) and Norman Deaton mounted the exhibit after a tanner scraped and soaked the hide to make it thin and pliable. Brown observed the habits of elephants at the National Zoological Park to create a scientifically accurate model of an elephant moving at a fast walk, Trunk lifted and Ears fanned out. The elephant was moved to the rotunda of NMNH and unveiled March 1959.

June 4, 1956. Article published in the Sports Illustrated Vol. 4, Number 23 Sports magazine; Fénykövi's journey of capturing the largest elephant ever killed by man up to that time. Fénykövi, a businessman, tracked and killed the elephant in Angola, Africa, on November 13, 1955. Fénykövi's article describes the journey of he and his three assistants, Mario, Francisco and Kukuya. He details the types of weapons used, the ammunition and the techniques of navigating the African countryside. Additionally, Fénykövi provides the elephants weight, height and length.
After capturing the elephant, Fénykövi donated the specimen to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where the elephant was unveiled to the public in 1959.

March 6, 1959: A male African bush elephant, a gift from Josef J.Fénykövi, Hungarian-born engineer and big game hunter, and prepared by the museum's taxidermy staff, is unveiled in the place of honor in the center rotunda of the National Museum of Natural History. At the time of its unveiling, it is the largest land mammal on display in a museum. Fénykövi tracked down and shot the elephant in the Cuando River region of southeastern Angola on November 13, 1955.

Fénykövi elephant in Cuando River region

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2023). Fénykövi elephant, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Cuando River region in Angola. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 11 December 2023 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=7650. (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories1955 deaths | Washington National Museum of Natural History Taxidermy | Elephants from Cuando River region | Angola | African savanna elephants

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