He studied natural sciences and theology in Münster, where he was ordained as a priest in 1859. In 1863 he obtained his doctorate in zoology at the University of Greifswald, later becoming an associate professor of zoology at the Academy in Münster (1873).
In 1871 he founded the Westfälischen Vereins für Vogelschutz, Geflügel- und Singvögelzucht (Westphalian Association for bird protection, poultry and songbird breeding), and during the following year founded the Zoologischen sektion für Westfalen und Lippe (Zoological Division of Westphalia and Lippe).
In 1875, he founded the Westphalian zoo in Munster, a preserve with emphasis on European domestic mammals. It had a building for the display, cultivation and breeding of various fowl as well as avaries for songbirds. In 1876 a "monkey house" was constructed. Eventually, the zoo expanded to include native fauna in general. By the end of 1882, the site had "niche displays" (dioramas) representing fauna from Australia, the North Sea coast, German forests, the African landscape, as well as a section that contained fossils from prehistoric Westphalia.
- Lehrbuch Der Zoologie (with Bernard Altum), 1868.
- Thierstimmen, 1874.
- Das Studium der Zoologie mit besonderer Rücksicht auf das Zeichnen der Tierformen, 1905.
- Vom Landois-Zoo zum Allwetterzoo History.