Inokashira Park Zoo in western Tokyo Sunday celebrated on Sunday the birthday of Japan’s oldest Asian elephant, Hanako. The animal turned 65 this year and thus became the oldest elephant kept by a Japanese zoo and the third oldest in the world.
800 people celebrated Hanako’s birthday, while she was given a birthday cake made of her favorite ingredients – bread and fruits. In return, she rocked her body from side to side, performing a special dance for the guests.
“I was amazed to see her so spry despite her old age,” said Akito Yokoi, a 10-year-old boy from Mitaka who attended the event.
“She is a star loved by many,” said Etsuo Narushima, head of the zoo. He also said he hopes that Hanako will live as long as possible.
The elephant was brought in Japan from Thailand in 1949 and she has lived inside a zoo since 1954, Kyodo news agency reports.
Hanako has been ill one year ago, but now she is in a good condition, according to the zoo’s officials. Last year, it surpassed the age record of female-elephant Suwako that died in Kobe zoo in 2008.