Taxidermy mount of an adult male African Savannah Elephant (Loxodonta africana), shot by Percy Powell-Cotton on 3 May 1905 near the town of Iramva, Uganda.

This Elephant was originally collected by Percy Powell-Cotton on behalf of the Natural History Museum (NHM), who had asked him to obtain a large adult male that they could use for display. However, the skin took several days to remove because the animal was so large, and it was then delayed for several months in transit. By the time it reached London, in February 1906, the taxidermists at Rowland Ward’s Ltd decided the condition was too poor to mount for the NHM. Percy Powell-Cotton decided to have it mounted for his own museum instead, and the largest diorama in Gallery 3 has been the Elephant’s home since 1910. The animal was measured in the field as being 352 cm tall, and he is so big that when the diorama was built the floor had to be lowered to fit him in.

The Elephant suffered an injury at some point during his life, and the left tusk had broken off at the base. This damage was possibly caused by digging or a fight. The tusks that you see on the taxidermy mount are plaster casts of tusks belonging to a different animal.

The right foreleg of the Elephant was preserved and is also on display in Gallery 3. By studying the bones, we have been able to estimate that the Elephant was about 40-47 years old at the time of his death. This is middle-aged for an African Savannah Elephant, as they can live into their 70s.