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.
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.
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.
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)