Stockholm Zoo (Skansen) in Sweden


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Stockholm Zoo (Skansen)
Nika to the left, and Bambina to the right. Bambina was, with almost six tons, probably among the largest Asian female elephants in Europe. At the gate is Skansens first elephant keeper, Sven Borg, who was responsible for the elephants 1930-1975. Photo: 1962 by Göran Schmidt
Nika to the left, and Bambina to the right. Bambina was, with almost six tons, probably among the largest Asian female elephants in Europe. At the gate is Skansens first elephant keeper, Sven Borg, who was responsible for the elephants 1930-1975. Photo: 1962 by Göran Schmidt

Local name Skansens zoologiska avdelning
Typezoo
OwnerStiftelsen Skansen
Founded1891
First elephant arrived1930
Last elephant left1992
Address Box 27807
Zip-code S-115 93
Place Stockholm
Country Sweden
Website http://www.skansen.se/

Directors1891–1901 Artur Hazelius
1901–1905 Gunnar Hazelius
1905–1912 Bernhard Salin
1913–1928 Gustaf Upmark
1929–1955 Andreas Lindblom
1956–1968 Gösta Berg
1969–1982 Nils Erik Baehrendtz
1982–1991 Eva Nordenson
1992–1994 Hans Alfredson
1995–2005 Anna-Greta Leijon
2005-now John Brattmyhr

Veterinarians1904-1954: Wilhelm Sahlstedt
1954-1982: Karl Borg
1983-1987: Torsten Mörner
1987-1992: Maud Palm

Head keepers
of elephants
1930-1975 Sven Borg
1976-1983 Ingvar Nylund
1983-1984 Tommy Lambrell
1984-1986 Bill Hemberg
1986-1992 Dan Koehl
Google map

From left: Nika, Pelle Zettersten, Dan Koehl and Shiva,during a walk on Skansen. Photo: <a href="http://www.catharinaflorman.com/" title="Catharina Koch-Florman - mer vild än tam">Catharina Koch-Florman</a>

From left: Nika, Pelle Zettersten, Dan Koehl and Shiva,during a walk on Skansen. Photo: Catharina Koch-Florman
Relevant literature

Description

Stockholm Zoo (Skansen), located at Box 27807, in Stockholm, Sweden , was founded in 1891 and the first elephant arrived in 1930. The last elephant left in 1992.


Comments / picturesSkansen is Sweden´s national Zoo and was founded 1891, not actually as a zoo, but as worlds first free-air museum exhibiting old cottages and houses from all over Sweden. In order to attract visitors, animals was also included in the concept, not only scandinavian, but also tropical species.

The first elephant at Skansen was Topsy who came 1930 from Hagenbecks Tierpark, in Hamburg, together with a keeper, on loan during the summer. Topsy was a great success as ride-elephant and Skansen bought their first elephant Lunkentuss in 1931, adding Bambina in 1939.

Lunkentuss had to be shot 1941, and after Bambina was alone a couple of years, Fatima was bought in 1951, and Noi in 1967, after Bambina died. Fatima was sold to Ahlborg Zoo in Denmark, and Noi was sent to Copenhagen for cover in 1980, why Nika was single elephant from 1980 until 1984 when Shiva arrived from Circus Sariola in Finland. Nika became very dependant on her keepers during those years, and her social behaviour was fairly focused on soclai relationship with the staff. Every morning after keepers arrived, she wanted to stand and just greet the keeper, asking them by pulling them them close to her ear, to rumble into the ear on close distance.

Rumbling is of course one of the more common sounds between elephants, but not many keepers has used this way of communicating with their elephants, in order to strengthen the bonding.

Skansen was among the first Zoos in Europa to keep their elephants unchained in night, from 1989, they were only tethered with chains for short training sessions, but walked free the whole night, thus making the stable of 86 m2 the largest night box for unchained elephants in Europe.

The elephant house at Skansen was 86 square meter but the Swedish Board of Agriculture demand 200 square meters stable, and 2000 m2 outside enclosure, why Skansen was supposed to build a new house and a larger outer enclosure.

In 1992 Skansen decided to close their elephant department and Nika and Shiva was send to England. Skansen gave their last elephants Nika and Shiva for free to Cricket St. Thomas wildlife Park in Somerset, UK, with the condition that Cricket payed and organized the transport.

21 year old Shiva died after three months, Nika after two years in Spain, where she was shipped after Cricket Zoo was prohibited to keep elephants.

Stockholm Zoo (Skansen) in Sweden Sweden
Elephant Lunkentuss arrived in 1931, dead 1941.

Stockholm Zoo (Skansen) in Sweden Sweden
Dan Koehl and Shiva walking in the zoo 1989.

Stockholm Zoo (Skansen) in Sweden Sweden
Except for winter months, the elephants were taken for walks around the zoo four to five times a day, the morning walk through the forest outside the zoo, finishing with a bath in the Djurgårdsbrunn channel.

Stockholm Zoo (Skansen) in Sweden Sweden
The stable of 86 m2 was in 1991 the largest night box for unchained elephants in free contact in Europe.

References for records about Stockholm Zoo (Skansen)

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Stockholm Zoo (Skansen), Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=30. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Elefanten - Mein Leben, by Karl Kock
  • Dan Koehl
  • Perti Sariola, Finland
  • Erland Wadsten, Skansen
  • Article by Olaf Tietz, head elephantkeeper Zoo Rostock, Elefanten in Zoo und Circus magazine, nr 9-2006, p 30


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