The Who2 Blog

Archduke Ferdinand, Animal Killer

Spiegel Online reports on a newly-published diary by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the man whose assassination sparked World War I.  He killed a lot of animals. A lot of animals.

It's a rediscovery of the 2,000 pages of notes taken by Franz Ferdinand on his 1893 world tour. He was 28 years old at the time, and he set out with 400 other people in December of 1892, headed for North America by way of India.

The new version of his notes was compiled by Austrian Karl Kraus, and includes illustrations and original photos by Ferdinand.

The tour itself sounds as though it was mostly a hunting trip. Ferdinand was known to be Austria's greatest hunter -- if you're talking volume. They say he killed 274,889 creatures -- game animals, that is -- during his lifetime, including 5,000 stags.

That's more than a dozen kills a day, EVERY DAY of his life. While in India, he killed an elephant and a monitor lizard. In Australia he sat by the train and shot kangaroos and emus and whatever else was herded into range in front of him. He shot and killed koalas! Cute, little koalas!

Look at this savage cur. Doesn't it make you just wanna blow its brains out?

Quick, shoot him before he eats your liver!

Apparently, Franz Ferdinand even made an extra-special effort to kill a platypus. A platypus! Good one, Arch-dunce!

They say he didn't get to do much killing in Japan. He did get a dragon tattoo there.

Then he was off to Canada and the United States, where he was disappointed -- not enough opportunities to kill grizzly bears, and ill-mannered cowboys every where you look. Some things never change, am I right?

Ferdinand took a swing through New York, where he climbed the stairs to the top of the Pulitzer Building, the tallest building in the world at the time (309 feet!). Like Ferdinand's empire, the building no longer exists. It was demolished in 1955.

Then it was back to Europe, where he killed more stags and waited to be assassinated by Gavrilo Princip:

Guards wrestle with Princip right after the shooting

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