Skeleton elephant Ramon

On June 25, 2005, the assembled skeleton of the Asian elephant Ramon was unveiled by Ton Dorresteyn, then director of Blijdorp Zoo. Companies, funds and private individuals sponsored the preparation and assembly of separate skeletal parts, so that the skeleton of this well-known elephant from Blijdorp Zoo could be displayed in its full glory. The octagonal tower room of the museum has been restored to its original state and is now Ramon's permanent residence.

In July 2019, the elephant was reunited with one of his excrements. Ramon's Turd, acquired in 1974 by the Rotterdam artist Bob van Persie, was given its own display case.

‘Ramon’ was born on 7 December 1970 at the Hanover Zoo. After six months he moved to Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam, where he spent the rest of his life. Ramon was a household name in Blijdorp Zoo. He was the only bull, impatient and unpredictable, and a first-class breeder. He sired five offspring: Bernhardine (1984), Yasmin (1990), Indira (1995), Timber (1998) and Max (1998). On April 24, 1998 he succumbed to a cerebral haemorrhage while copulating with Douanita. Immediately after his death, the museum was given access to his remains. Blijdorp Zoo and the museum worked together in the hours immediately after Ramon’s death on dissecting the body and boning the skeleton. The bones and skull were kept for the collection after an intensive and above all smelly preparation process. The separate skeleton parts were placed in the collection storage and forgotten.

However, Ramon, a unique Rotterdam natural history masterpiece, deserved more. To restore him to his former glory his skeleton needed to be reassembled, bone by bone. In October 2004, the museum started the sponsorship campaign ‘Let’s raise Ramon!’. All skeletal parts, from skull to hind toe, were given a price tag ranging from 3,750 to 25 euros. In total, the campaign raised 14,441 euros, enough to put Ramon back on his feet and to restore the octagonal tower room.