The Perth Zoo is celebrating the birthday of one of its most beloved animals.
Tricia – the Asian Elephant – is celebrating her 55th birthday, and to make the occasion, the zoo has presented her with a 1.5m high fruit and bran cake, aptly garnished with branches.
Environment Minister John Day said that as the matriarch of the zoo’s elephant herd, Tricia deserved a special celebration to mark this huge milestone.
“Tricia is only a year younger than me so I can understand how she might be feeling at the moment,” Day said.
“But it is a great age and she’s still a favourite with the many visitors to the zoo each day.”
Though less energetic than she was when she first arrived, Tricia is one of the most popular animals at the zoo, and also its longest resident. Arriving from Singapore in 1963, Tricia has called Perth home for nearly 50 years.
Also in Tricia’s herd are two other elephants – 22 year old Permai and 22 year old Putra Mas. Though Tricia is senior to the others in the herd, she still manages to keep in good form and in good health.
“Tricia stays active through painting and daily walks around the zoo, which are part of an extensive enrichment program for the elephants to provide them with physical and mental stimulation,” Day said.
“In terms of ageing, Tricia sometimes pretends she can’t remember when the keepers ask her to do something. She also has less hair than the younger elephants.”
The average lifespan is between 50 and 70 years, however, zoo keepers are hoping that by keeping Tricia active she will live well into her 70s.
To do this, zoo keepers make sure Tricia is exercising, eating well and keeping her mind active – similar to a wellness regime a human might follow.