Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal Of Berlin Zoo

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin

Roland was a goliath 4,000 pound sea elephant (A.K.A an Elephant Seal Mirunga patagonica. He lived in Berlin Zoo from the late 1920’s until his death during the second world war.

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin

Here he is getting a snow bath from his handler at the Berlin Zoo (date unknown)

In this film you can see his large gelatinous proportions, including monstrous jowls and a trunk-like snout.

They breed on lonely southern islands such as the Falklands off South America.

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Elephant Seals feed mostly on cephalopods like fish and squid. A bull like Roland would have a commanding presence of the beach. In the wild he would have had a harem of about 25-40 cows under his control.

Roland was a well loved resident at Berlin Zoo and when he died, they created a loving memorial to him including a bronze cast of his face.

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin
A bronze cast of Roland’s face
Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin
A life-size memorial statue of Roland after his death

German taxidermists Karl Kaestner and Gerhard Schröder of the Natural History Museum in Berlin created a dermoplastic modelof Roland and crafted his skin onto it. This museum display was destroyed in 1944 during the Bombing of Berlin in World War II. All that is left of Roland is his “death mask” at the German Maritime Museum in Stralsund, Germany. (updated 12.09.16)

Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal From Berlin
Kids in front of statue of Roland



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Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

6 thoughts on “Roland: Gargantuan Elephant Seal Of Berlin Zoo

  1. Hi,

    thanks for your article. However, you got a few details wrong: There never was a statue. After Roland’s death, the German taxidermists Karl Kaestner and Gerhard Schröder of the Natural History Museum in Berlin created a dermoplastic model (a taxidermy technique typical for this very museum) of Roland and crafted his skin onto it. This museum display was destroyed in 1944 during the Bombing of Berlin in World War II. All that is left of Roland is his “death mask” at the German Maritime Museum in Stralsund, Germany. http://www.365entdeckungen.de/index.php?id=20&no_cache=1&dateDiff=33

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Heloderma, thanks so much for correcting this for me. I will update this page with the new info. What a shame that it was destroyed during WWII but at least you still have the video footage of the great beast. Thanks will correct this info now

      Like

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