John Hagenbeck in Sri Lanka

John Hagenbeck

First elephant arrived1884
Last elephant left1936
Closed down1939
CountrySri Lanka
Relevant literature

John Hagenbeck (1866-1940) was halfbrother to Carl Hagenbeck and assisted in the family company Firma Carl Hagenbeck.

1884: John Hagenbeck went to Sri Lanka to buy elephants for Firma Hagenbeck, which he delivered in Hamburg.
1885: J.H. returned 1885 to Sri Lanka and lived there for 25 years, exporting tea, coffee and animals.
1890: J.H. established etablised Firma John Hagenbeck & Co., ship furn. and animal trade.
1914: The property in Ceylon was repossessed and he was deported by the british in August 1914 during the First World War.
1918: John Hagenbeck established a film company, John Hagenbeck Film AG, in Berlin, which he left in 1923.
1923: J.H. returned to Sri Lanka and founded "Ceylon Zoological Gardens Company" where he kept animals before being shipped, which were also an open Zoo for visitors.
1924-1927: J.H. returned to Europe with a ship full of animals and show people, which he took on tour in Europe.
1927: returned to Sri Lanka and reestablished his trade with tea and animals.
1936: Ceylon Zoological Gardens Company in Dehivela was liquidated and the company confiscated as enemy property, which 1937 became Dehivela Gardens in Sri Lanka.
1939: J.H. and his his Sri Lankan born wife was put in Diyatalawa internment camp by the british.
1940: John died, 74 years old, in Diyatalawa internment camp in Colombo, shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War.
John Hagenbeck left his wife and a son, John George Hagenbeck (1909-1959).

Source and citings for the article John Hagenbeck

Reference list

John Hagenbeck, Elephant Encyclopedia, Koehl, D. (2014), (available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Funfundzwanzig Jahre Ceylon, by John Hagenbeck
  • Der deutsche Tropenwald: Bilder, Mythen, Politik, by Michael Flitner
  • Verbrecher und Versager: fünf Porträts, by Felicitas Hoppe

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