Jumbo-sized party marks zoo queen’s 40th birth­day

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Lisa Har­ri­son

HIT­TING 40 years old is a mile­stone best marked with a big party.

And for Auck­land Zoo’s ele­phant Kashin, it will be a jumbo-sized oc­ca­sion.

The Asian ele­phant is mark­ing her birth­day this Sun­day with a party at the zoo and every­one is in­vited.

Kashin and fel­low ele­phant Burma will be painted in tra­di­tional Thai style and be treated to ele­phant­sized birth­day cakes.

They will then treat guests to an ele­phant paint­ing demon­stra­tion be­fore tak­ing a swim in the hippo pool.

Keeper An­drew Co­ers says it will be a great cel­e­bra­tion for peo­ple of all ages.

“Kashin’s like the Queen Mum, the ma­tri­arch of the zoo fam­ily,” he says.

“For a birth­day treat, we’ll be giv­ing her a day off her nor­mal ex­er­cise rou­tine and will gen­er­ally make a big fuss of her and en­sure she turns 40 in grand style.”

Kashin was born in 1968 and has been at Auck­land Zoo since 1972.

She shares the ele­phant en­clo­sure with Burma, who is 26 years old.

Mr Co­ers says ele­phants can gen­er­ally live any­where be­tween 50 and 70 years, but Kashin’s med­i­cal con­di­tions, in­clud­ing arthri­tis and chronic joint prob­lems, cause her trou­ble.

“Kashin’s def­i­nitely slowed down in re­cent years, but de­spite her chronic ail­ments she is still a very ac­tive ele­phant who would put many a couch po­tato to shame,” he says.

“This is a big time for Kashin and for her to make it to 40 is just great for us.”

Mr Co­ers has been at the zoo for al­most 10 years and en­joys work­ing with the ele­phants.

“They can be frus­trat­ing when they don’t want to do some­thing but they are play­ful and af­fec­tion­ate crea­tures and it’s in­cred­i­ble to be around them.”

He en­cour­ages peo­ple to go along to the zoo to help Kashin cel­e­brate.

“To say you were part of her 40th birth­day will be pretty spe­cial,” he says.

Kashin’s birth­day cel­e­bra­tion will run at the zoo from 11am to 2pm on Sun­day with a rain date of Novem­ber 23. Nor­mal zoo ad­mis­sion ap­plies.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Happy birth­day: Auck­land Zoo’s res­i­dent ele­phant Kashin and keeper An­drew Co­ers. Kashin’s 40th birth­day will be cel­e­brated at the zoo this Sun­day.

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