Vanni an African savanna elephant at Nikolaev Zoo

 ☨ ♀ Vanni  

Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 33 years old
Id numberEEP Number: 7310
Body height: 2.85 meter, 9.4 feet
Born:* 1973 wild
Birth place:
Dead date: 2006-08
Death reason: disease: Anorexia
Present / last location:Nikolaev Zoo, in Ukraine

Date of Arrival

2005-10-03Nikolaev Zoo
from Zoolandia
Zoolandia 1984-00-00
from Circus Finlandia
Circus Finlandia 1980-00-00
from Helsinki Zoo

Document updated2009-03-21: Text
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† Vanni is a dead Female ♀ African savanna elephant, (Loxodonta africana), who died at Nikolaev Zoo, in Ukraine, disease in 2006-08, Anorexia(see detailed list).


Vanni was born wild 1973.

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 listKoehl, Dan, (2020). Vanni, an African savanna at Nikolaev Zoo in Ukraine. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 5 December 2020 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

    This document was updated: 2020-11-20 11:19:33

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