Firma Ruhe in Germany

Firma Ruhe
The Ruhe Villa was built 1913-1914

The Ruhe Villa was built 1913-1914
Local nameTierhandelsfirma Ruhe
Typedealer
Owner1860-?: Ludwig Ruhe (Louis Ruhe)

Hermann Ruhe Sr (d. 1923) and Bernhard Ruhe

1923-1993: Hermann Ruhe Jr (died 2003)
Founded1860
Closed down1993
AddressKalandstrasse
PlaceAlfeld
CountryGermany

DirectorsHermann Ruhe (Alfeld)
Bernhard Ruhe (New York)
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Ludwig Ruhe (-1883)

Firma Ruhe was one of the leading animal trade companies, founded in 1880 by Ludwig Ruhe (in america Louis Ruhe) and closed down in 1993.

Before 1907, Carl Hagenbeck was worldwide the most important animal trader in the world.
But when he built his new Zoo in 1907, he suddenly became a provocation against the old type Zoo facilities in Germany, and he was cut of as their supplier, while Firma Ruhe suddenly become the most important suppler of animals to german Zoos.

Ludwig Ruhes company was taken over by his sons: Hermann Ruhe who stayed in Alfeld and Bernhard Ruhe who managed the Ruhe Animal Farm in New York. Hermann Ruhe Sr died in 1923, and his son Hermann Ruhe Jr took over. Three generations of Ruhe operated worldwide, with local offices in London and New York, and provided hundred of elephants to Zoos and circuses.

1900-1924 apr 10 elephants/year were sold.

1917: 12 elephants were bought in Sumatra, and delivered to USA. (Among them Kechil and Hitam Source: Wilde Tiere frei Haus by Hermann Ruhe)

1924: 18 elephants were sold.

1925: 28 elephants were sold.

1924-1930: Totally 118 elephants were sold (p 169, Wilde Tiere frei Haus by Hermann Ruhe)

1931-1971 Firma Hermann Ruhe rented the entire Hannover Zoo.

1945: Ruhe established a quarantene in the free port in Hamburg, in order to ship exports destined for USA. Since then, Alfeld was only used for animals which would stay in Europe.

1948: Founded Ruhr Zoo in Gelsenkirchen.

1962: 4 African bull elephants sold to Circus Carl Althoff; 1. bull with unknown name, 2. Sudan, Douglas, and a fourth, bull with unknown name. All four are supposed to have died before end of 1965.

1969: Founded Autosafari Reserva Africana in Mallorca.

1972: Founded Wingst Baby Zoo and Brunkensen Kinderzoo.

1977: 2 Africans were relocated from Wingst Baby Zoo to Krefeld Zoo, where Duala remained, while Sanga was sold to Giza Zoo in Egypt.

1980: Import of nine Asian females from Rangoon Zoo in Burma to Brunkensen Kinderzoo, claimed to be third generation captive bred. 1. Yhetoo sold to Krefeld Zoo, six to RBBB in U.S.A.: split between Blue unit: 2.Alana, 3.Bonnie, 4.Icky II, 5.Nicole, and Red unit: 6.Bangkok and 7.Siam II.

1985: A group of Africans imported from Wankie national park in Zimbabwe, kept at Wingst Baby Zoo and sold from there.

"Hannover Zoo is old, the fourth-oldest in Germany, inaugurated in 1865…The zoo did as well as any in a large, provincial German town over the decades, and suffered as most others did during the First World War, the post-war years of inflation, and the Great Depression. In 1931 it was leased to the wild-animal traders of L. Ruhe in nearby Alfeld. Ruhe, founded in 1860 and thus older than the zoo, had established itself during the inter-war years as the premier animal dealership in Europe. The lease would hold until 1971, and gave visitors to Hannover Zoo over the years an opportunity to see rare and unusual animals that would otherwise seldom make it into a provincial menagerie."

Today, there are some stuffed animals on display in the museum in Alfeld.

Hermann Ruhe Jr died 14 december 2003.

Elephant keepers/trainers:
* Karl Kreth
* Baron Hans F. Von Ketelholdt



The picture with the small elephant: riders: Hermann and Ludwig Ruhe, in white jacket senior zookeeper Siegfried, in front Karl Kreth. At he picture when elephants are unloaded from train is Karl Kreth with hat.




Elephant transporter used in 1934 for elephant ö from Copenhagen Zoo

Source and citings for the article Firma Ruhe

Reference list

Firma Ruhe, Elephant Encyclopedia, Koehl, D. (2020), (available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=310). (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:



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