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The Wupper river, between Schwebebahn stations Alter Markt and Adlerbrücke
Painting of Tuffi on a house wall in Wuppertal facing the Schwebebahn

Tuffi (born in 1946 in India, died in 1989 in Paris) was a female circus elephant that became famous in West Germany during 1950 when she accidentally fell from the Wuppertal Schwebebahn into the River Wupper underneath.

On 21 July 1950 the circus director Franz Althoff (de) had Tuffi, then four years old, travel on the suspended monorail in Wuppertal, as a publicity stunt. The elephant trumpeted wildly and ran through the wagon, broke through a window and fell 12 metres (39 ft) down into the River Wupper, 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 (fr) in 1968; she died there in 1989.

No photograph of the incident is known; a widely circulated postcard picture is a montage.[1][2] [3] A building near the location of the incident, between the stations Alter Markt and Adlerbrücke, features 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 titled Tuffi und die Schwebebahn.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Althoff, Fatima (21 July 2010). "Zirkuselefant Tuffi sprang vor 60 Jahren aus der Schwebebahn" [Circus Elephant Tuffi jumped out of the suspension railway 60 years ago]. Westdeutscher Rundfunk (Interview). Interviewed by Robert Franz. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
  2. ^ "WDR - Informationen und Nachrichten vom Westdeutschen Rundfunk". 27 February 2016.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Himmelrath, Armin (21 July 2016). "Der fliegende Elefant von Wuppertal" [The flying elephant from Wuppertal]. Der Spiegel. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  • 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. (in German)

Coordinates: 51°16′5.13″N 7°11′33.13″E / 51.2680917°N 7.1925361°E / 51.2680917; 7.1925361