Marseille Zoo in France

Marseille Zoo

Local name Le Jardin zoologique de Marseille

First elephant arrived1856
Closed down1987
Address Parc Longchamp
Place Marseille
Country France


Key People


Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants

Elephant keepers
Record history
History of updates2022-04-06

Latest document update2022-04-06 19:32:41
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Marseille Zoo, located at Parc Longchamp, in Marseille, France , was founded in 1854 and the first elephant arrived in 1856. Marseille Zoo closed down in 1987.

Comments / picturesLongchamp Park was opened in 1869, at the same time as the palace; in addition, the art and natural-history collections, which had been housed elsewhere, moved into the palace at this time. The park also contained a zoo, which was run by the city from 1898 until 1987, when, because of public disaffection with traditional zoos, it was closed.

Opened in 1854, the Zoological Garden of Marseille welcomes around 1855 his first elephant: Toby, aged about fifteen of years. But, the leaders of the first provincial zoo have, it seems, put the cart before the horse, or “the elephant before the enclosure” so to speak, since “one does not knew where to lodge him; so, temporarily, they tied him by the foot at a sealed ring in the middle of the rotunda, until an elephant pavilion was built.

The Elephant Pavilion is still existing, and was renovated in 2013 to accommodate 3 colorful fiberglass elephants from the Funny Zoo.

1886: "An Asian elephant is thus purchased on this occasion, for 5,000 F. Named Margot, the young female aged 2 or 3 years lived 17 years in the zoo before being shot following a fracture of the tibia on October 23, 1903."

The Asian elephant bull William (?-1906) came to Marseille from the American Circus MacCaddon in 1905. The MacCaddon family was stranded with their circus in Grenoble, France in 1905, According to a News article the stranded circus returned USA on the steamship Roma 16 September 1905, while some members were still left behind in Grenoble, which may explain why they sold the elephant.

William was present at the Marseille Zoo for only 7 months before he died 1906 and moved to the Museum\'s collections in 1906.

Marseille Zoo in France FranceAsian elephant William in the elephant pavilion.
Marseille Zoo in France France
Asian elephant William in the elephant pavilion.

1963: African elephant (presence of a young individual in 1963.

1980s: Asian elephants, 2 females were still present in the 1980s

Sometimes Asian elephant was inside the same enclosure as hippos.

Many animals that lived in the Longchamp Zoo between 1854 and 1987 are still exhibited at the Marseille Natural History Museum.

References for records about Marseille Zoo

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2024). Marseille Zoo, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

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