||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (December 2012)|
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On 21 July 1950 the circus director Franz Althoff had Tuffi, then 4 years old, take the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, as a marketing gag. The elephant apparently did not enjoy the ride, trumpeted wildly and ran through the wagon, broke through a window and fell some 12 metres (39 ft) down into the Wupper river, suffering only minor injuries. A panic had broken out in the wagon and some passengers were injured. Althoff helped the elephant out of the water. Both the circus director and the official who had allowed the ride were fined.
Tuffi was sold to Cirque Alexis Gruss in 1968; she died there in 1989.
To this day, a manipulated picture of the fall circulates around the world and a building near the location of the incident, between the stations Alter Markt and Adlerbrücke, shows a painting of Tuffi. A local milk-factory has chosen the name as a brand.
The Wuppertal tourist information keeps an assortment of Tuffi-related souvenirs, local websites show original pictures.
In 1970 Marguerita Eckel and Ernst-Andreas Ziegler published a Children's picture book about the incident, named Tuffi und die Schwebebahn.
- Stephan Oettermann: Die Schaulust am Elefanten. Eine Elephantographia curiosa. Syndikat:Frankfurt am Main 1982. Chapter Elefantenkatastrophen und „Wunder der Tierdressur“, S. 69-82; S. 73. ISBN 3-8108-0203-4. (German)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tuffi.|
- Images and newspaper report (German)