Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden

Kolmarden Zoo
enclosures and the stables. Photo: © Lillian Berthung
enclosures and the stables. Photo: © Lillian Berthung

Local name Kolmårdens djurpark

OwnerParks & Resorts Scandinavia (since 2000)
First elephant arrived1964
Opened for public1965
Place Kolmarden
Country Sweden
Website Website

Directors1963: Ulf Svensson

Key People 2000-2000: Dan Koehl (elephant consultant)
2007-2012: Karolina Bördin (researcher)


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
1967-1970: Franz Tisch
(elephant trainer)
1968-1973: Hans Romlund
(elephant head-keeper)
1988-2002: Sven Mellgren
(elephant head-keeper)
1968-1973: Hans Romlund
?: Franz Tisch
?: Rolf Claesson
1989-2003: Sven Mellgren
?-2007: Thomas Antmar
2008-2010: Dan Koehl
2010-2011: Owe Bergstrom
2012-now: Tommy Karlsson

Elephant keepers -1991: Robert Nilsson
-1991: Jonny Modig
1975-1988: Sven Mellgren
1991-2000: Pelle Zettersten
2007-2010: Dan Koehl
Google map

Non-public back yard enclosures.

Non-public back yard enclosures.
Relevant literature

Kolmarden Zoo, in Kolmarden, Sweden , was founded in 1964, opened for public in 1965 and the first elephant arrived in 1964.

Living elephants

At the Kolmarden Zoo lives 3 elephants with records in this database: (detail list)
  1. Bua born 1997
  2. Sao Noi (Saonoi) born 1996
  3. Tonsak born 1998

Taxidermy specimens

Kolmarden Zoo has in its collection 1 elephantine museum specimens with records in this database:

(Measurements of teeth and body parts follow the system described by Maglio (1973; P = plate number, L = length, W = width, H = height, LF = lamellar frequency)

    Gipsy (Gypsie) Accession nr: . Received: 1984-09-14 Gipsy (Gypsie)
    Species: African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
    * Born 1972 at Africa unspecified location † Dead 1984-09-14 at Kolmarden Zoo
    Death: disease Death reason: collapsed. Meningitis?

Comments / picturesRiding operations were provided from late sixties until 1970 with the Austrian elephant trainer Franz Tisch, later with Sven Mellgren as head keeper. A breeding Group was developed in late 80s, with the bull Brahma, (who was managed in free contact) imported from Mysore in India as stud.

1963: The first two asian elephants arrive, female Chocolate and the male Nobi in same age.
After 1963: After Nobi died, another female was bought, with the name Sandra or Samba, her later whereabots are presently unknown.
1967: Donkey arrives?
1967: Samba probably was sold this year (To Russia?). Dinah, Mable and Delhi/Dahlia arrives, together with Austrian elephant trainer Franz Tisch and danish elephant keeper Hans Romlund.
1973: 3 Africans arrived, which were displayed in the Safaripark.
1974: The 3 africans were moved to the "Stäpp stables". Kolmarden has 3 Africans and 4 Asians.
1970: Three Asian elephants were sold to Denmark; Mable, Delhi to Vejle Zoo (Himmelpind) in Vejle, and later to Givskud Zoo in Vejle and Dinah was sold to Copenhagen Zoo, followed by the trainer Franz Tisch.
1974: 4 elephants; the asians Donkey and Chocolate, and the africans Noby and Gypsie, were transferred from the antelope stables to a new elephant house. Elephant keeper Sven Mellgren moved 1975 to Kolmarden from Skansen, where he had been trained by Sven Borg.
1985: Asian female elephant Mida arrives from Circus Corty Althoff.
1990: A new elephant house, Kolosseum, were built in 1989-1990 and Sven Mellgren became head keeper of the section with elephants, rhinos, giraffes and other Species. Putshi, female Asian elephant from Copenhagen Zoo arrives.
1991: Putschi killed elephant keeper Robert Nilsson.

Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden SwedenIn 1991, elephant keeper Robert Nilsson, here with Donkey, was killed by the elephant Putschie. Elephant keeper Pelle Zettersten moved 1991 to Kolmården from Stockholm Zoo (Skansen), where he had been trained by the head keeper Dan Koehl.

1994: Semi-adult male Asian elephant Brahma from Mathigodu elephant Camp, via Mysore Zoo, arrived with aircraft.

In the late nineties, Sven Mellgren became a victim of spine problems and sick leaves.

2000: Dan Koehl worked as elephant trainer on consultant contract, due to staff shortage, securing the elephant rides. This year also Sandai, Asian elephant from Duisburg Zoo arrives.

Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden Sweden
The old Group of females.

Unfortunately, just after the first cow was pregnant (Sandai) with Brahma, the Group started to get open infection of Tuberculosis, ,airborne Zoonotic disease (Infectious to humans)'>Tuberculosis. Due to Swedish regulations, the whole Group was euthanized, animal by animal, after they started to show positive TB-test with Trunk-wash. After this the stable was in quarantine for some time, until the new elephant arrived from Thailand, a gift from the king of Thailand to the king of Sweden.

2004: 2 Asian females from Thailand arrived, Bua and Saonoi.

2007: Dan Koehl returned again, and Saba, Asian female from Zoo Le Pal in France arrived. The new Group consisted of Saba, Bua and Sao Noi. Saba was in protected contact for three years until her arrival in Kolmården in november 2007.

Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden Sweden
The new Group of females, with Dan Koehl. Photo: Emelie Olander.

Kolmarden Zoo in Sweden Sweden

From left: Saba, Sao Noi, and Bua. (elephant keeper Dan Koehl) Photo: Andreas Levestam

During 2007 and 2008 Research was being made by biologist Karolina Bördin.

The aim with this study was to measure the elephants’ motivation for different kinds of environmental Enrichment. This was done by letting the elephants pull a rope and thereby lift weights. If the elephant lifts the weights, she gets access to the Enrichment. The test is repeated once every day, with increased weight, until the elephant has reached her ”maximum price”. So far two tests have been carried out; a comparator test with hay (Saonoi pulled 454 kg and Bua pulled 381 kg) and an Enrichment test where the elephants opened the valve to a water hose (Saonoi pulled 309 kg and Bua pulled 236 kg). The next test will be on communication. Wild elephants communicate over large distances using infrasounds. To stimulate this behaviour in human care, an internet acoustic link was established with the German Colologne Zoo in order to offer Bua and Saonoi the opportunity to ”talk” to other elephants. Unfortunately, the project was not completed.

Dan Koehl left the Zoo in 2010, and since some years the elephants in Kolmården are in Protected Contact.

Karolina Bördin was tragically killed by Wolfs in the Wolf enclosure in Kolmarden Zoo in 17th of June, 2012.

2013 Namsai was born through AI from the bull Raja in Woburn, 2015 the elephant bull Tonsak was imported, and in 2020 Prince was born, with Tonsak as father.

2021: The bull calf Prince died in EEHV, Elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus.

References for records about Kolmarden Zoo

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2023). Kolmarden Zoo, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=23. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Litterature about Kolmarden Zoo

Recommended Litterature:

Links to websites about Kolmarden Zoo

Recommended Links on Internet:

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