African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) at
Nikolaev Zoo in Ukraine

dead elephant ☨ ♀ Vanni  dead elephant


EEP nr7310


Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 33 years old
Body height: 2.85 meter, 9.4 feet
Born:* 1973 wild
Birth place: in Africa unspecified location
Dead: 2006-08
Death reason: disease: Anorexia
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Nikolaev Zoo, in Ukraine

Date of arrival

2005-10-03Nikolaev Zoo
from Zoolandia

from Circus Finlandia

1980-00-00Circus Finlandia
from Helsinki Zoo Quarantine Island

Helsinki Zoo Quarantine Island
from Port of Helsinki

Record history
History of updates2020-10-17

Latest document update2022-03-21 18:21:43
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† Vanni is a dead Female ♀ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana), , who died 2006-08 at Nikolaev Zoo, in Ukraine, . Official death reason described as Anorexia.

Affiliated people

1: Dan Koehl (trainer from 1999 to 1999)


Vanni was born wild 1973 at Africa unspecified location.

Comments / pictures

Vanni was the second most northern living elephant in the world, (the most northern was Maggie from Alaska Zoo) since Lieto is just above 60 degrees North. From 1995 to 2005 she was Finlands only elephant, and many people, especially animal rights people, felt that it was sad for her to be the only elephant. Vanni was one of the larger female African elephants in Europe: her shoulder height was 2.85 meters! Her frontfoot circumpherence was 1.30 meters.

She came to Finland (Circus Finlandia) 1980 from former Yugoslavia, together with another African elephant which died in Ulcus during the quarantine. 1984 she came to Zoolandia. During those years she was chained at nights until 1990, after this walked free in her box. Between 1990-1995 she had company from Pepita, an Asian female bought from Circus Sariola in Finland. The two females were nighttime separated in two boxes, wearing no chains, and was daytime kept together free. Pepita died 1995 in Uterus cancer, and since then Vanni had the whole area of 210 m2. She shared the house (700 m2) with sheep, mini-pigs, horses, donkeys and birds. Especially the sheep were her friends, and she fed them often hay. Even children could walk into her box, she never harmed anyone. Her right hindleg was a little deformed, so she limped a little bit.

In 2005 it was decided to transfer her to Ukraine. She did not survive her new home in Ukraine more than 9 months. But those 9 months was a victory for the animal rights activists who "won in the end". Somehow Vanni did not appreciate their support, she stopped eating in Nikolaev Zoo and died in young age.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Vanni, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Nikolaev Zoo in Ukraine. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 18 April 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Dan Koehl
  • Teija Hakkarainen, elephant keeper in Zoolandia
  • Vanni, Suomalaisen norsuhistorian lyhyt oppimäärä
    by Markku Aulanko, 2005, ISBN 952-91-9624-5.
  • African Elephant Studbook, Europe Regional EEP
    by Amelia Terkel, Zoological center Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Israel

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Categories2006 deaths | 1973 births | EEP | Elephants from Nikolaev Zoo | Ukraine | African savanna elephants

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