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Monday, February 08, 2010

Many of the elephants in zoos throughout Europe are direct descendants of the war elephants Hannibal marched across the Alps in the Second Punic War.

See also:
- Bioparco Zoo of Rome
- Hannibal Barca

keywords: history, famous people, nature, culture and places, animals, war, hannibal barca, carthage, rome, italy, pachyderm, battle of zama, trivia, fun fact, fact of the day


  • Wrong again, I'm afraid. Most of Hannibal's elephants (which numbered in the 30's) died in the crossing of the Alps. The remaining few probably died during the Italian winter. No surviving elephants = no legacy, including no descendants in zoos. This is not just wrong, but irresponsibly so. People might actually be believing these "facts".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 28, 2007 11:44 PM  

  • The remaining few "probably" died. Key word "probably." Apparently, anonymous, you don't know wtf you are talking about.

    By Anonymous rickman, at September 06, 2007 7:13 AM  

  • Yes, key word "probably", as in, it's far more likely that they died than that they didn't. I don't see any evidence to the contrary in your reply, so if there's one of us who doesn't know what he's talking about, it isn't me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 06, 2007 6:08 PM  

  • I'm pretty sure those elephants are dead now. But perhaps, the elephants had left a bloodline before their trek through the alps.

    By Anonymous Lanny, at December 14, 2007 12:46 AM  

  • I agree with Lanny. Most of these facts are most definitely false, but this one is plausible, in that it does not designate that the elephants are descended from Hannibal's elephants after they crossed the Alps. They could have given offspring beforehand.

    By Anonymous AndrewJonesRULEZ!!!, at March 19, 2009 3:27 PM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 21, 2009 11:55 PM  

  • I know that all but one of Hannibal's elephants, the one that he personally rode, died either in battle or of disease fairly early in his campaign. Though it's highly unlikely I suppose that that one elephant could have prolonged its lineage if more elephants were brought in later. Once again this is highly unlikely and it is rather important that factropolis check all of its information beforehand.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 27, 2009 9:31 AM  

  • The elephants used for battle in Antiquity were drawn from remnant populations isolated around the Mediterranean by prehistoric desertification in the African and Asian tropics. It is unknown if Hannibal's elephants were even the same species as any of our modern-day elephants, because all of the Med populations were harassed to extinction by efforts to harness them for war.

    By Blogger Ed, at October 06, 2009 11:28 PM  

  • lol,this site is so friggin funny. i don't come for the statistics but the crap they post.

    of course the elephant stuff is true. the elephants told them. a elephant never forgets.

    hannibals favorite elephant was named "dumbo." that name is still used today.

    By Blogger Table Mountains, at February 08, 2010 1:23 PM  

  • The few elephants remaining from the Second Punic war were kept by the Romans in early zoos throughout Italy during the later Republic, and their descendants spread with Roman culture in Gaul and Iberia later. With the decline of the Empire the elephants and other zoo creatures were left mainly in the care the religious orders and the Frankish nobility, and suffered greatly before the barbarian deprecations, the European zoo breeding population being reduced to less than 75 individuals. During the 12th century however the European zoo elephant population had become robust enough to support all the traveling circuses, and the Hohenzollern monarchs alone had nearly 600 in the Italian estates and another 100 in their German possessions. Since the Renaissance elephants have been kept in every major city in southern Europe and traveling circuses were a major influence on the Enlightenment.

    By Blogger Koebie, at February 11, 2010 8:43 AM  

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