Birthday bash set for Japan’s oldest Asian elephant

7 years ago by in Featured, Japan Tagged: ,

The first elephant to come to Japan in 1949 after the World War II is turning 65 years old in February.  Born in 1947 in Thailand, the elephant named Hanako is Japan’s oldest Asian elephant.

Already, zoo officials and keepers are getting ready brewing a birthday celebration for her, although the elephant’s actual date of birth has not been determined.

Hanako has been living for 50 years in Inokashira Park Zoo in western Tokyo. She is one of the most popular residents in the zoo. Keepers say she has never had a major disease or an injury since then.

One keeper described her as very fond of people, although very timid and nervous, too. Hanako is fed with a special diet of about 120 to 175 pounds per day of fruit and vegetables, fresh grass and hay and bread.

The Japan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded Hanako with a recognition for her long life and contribution to the sense of “togetherness” between humans and animals.

When the massive Mach 11 quake and tsunami hit northeastern region of Japan, Hanako ran continuously around her play area and calmed down only when a staff member went to her, said one of her keepers.