Bengaluru: Bengaluru Zoo has commemorated the World Elephant Day by recognizing the pivotal contribution mahouts and their families make in the welfare of these giant mammals, an official said on Thursday.
“On the occasion of World Elephant Day, Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBBP or Bengaluru Zoo) acknowledges the contribution of mahouts and their families in the welfare of elephants,” told Executive Director Vanashree Vipin Singh to a website.
On the special day on Wednesday, elephant calves in the zoo were given feeding tasks or enrichment, aimed at enhancing their foraging abilities and sharpening their animal instincts. More than being a task, those activities were actually food treats. Enrichment included two fire hose balls filled with grass and other treats like carrots, sweet potatoes, bananas, watermelons, sugarcane and jaggery.
“A fire hose was tied with multiple food items and tied to a tree to encourage the animal to use its trunk to grab the food from a height. Also, a pipe filled with treats were placed in the enclosure for the animal to use its trunk to pull out the food from inside,” said Singh.
Spoilt with food, the elephant calves had a ball, with one of the older ones, Airavata, ran away with a fire hose ball to feast on the treats inside it.
Another calf, Suresh, spent some time retrieving the food from the pipe while Rita and Gowri, other calves, were spotted foraging food hung using the fire hose and another ball.
Aimed at creating awareness, the zoo displayed posters and set up a touch table with elephant dung to explain the role it plays in maintaining ecosystem equilibrium.
Similarly, to sensitise children towards wildlife conservation and elephants in specific, a drawing and elocution competition was organised online and on social media. Entries to the competition can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
B. P. Ravi, member secretary of Zoo Authority of Karnataka (ZAK), Mysuru, has released a video on the occasion about the preparation of nutritious raagi balls (Raagimudde) for elephants.
With the birth of a male calf on August 1, the elephant count in the Bengaluru Zoo rose to 24.
Bengaluru Bannerghatta biological park has four units — a zoo, safari, butterfly park and a rescue centre sprawling over 732 hectares of land and accommodates 2,281 animals. The zoo is nestled in the forests of Champakadhama Hills inside the Bannerghatta National Park.