Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Pumpkin

The term "little" is used a bit loosely in the title because Zuri is getting bigger each day! Just this morning, the elephant team revealed that Zuri is at 410 pounds, yet still as active as ever.

Fall is a fun time because there is such an abundance of fresh pumpkin for the elephants. Zuri recently discovered this crazy gourd and has even figured out she can eat. Hogle Zoo elephant keeper Eric Peterson says, "She mostly sticks her head down into the pumpkin, but she has been picking pieces up with her trunk to see what it tastes like." Who says kids can't play with their food?

Each year on Thanksgiving, Hogle Zoo hosts a special event called "Feast with the Beast" where animals get feedings of different foods, and even some get turkey-shaped pinatas filled with tasty treats. This "something special" is called enrichment in the zoo world, and is a great way to keep the animals mentally healthy. A couple of years ago, the elephants started smashing 1,000 pound pumpkins as part of this festive time. The fun continues this year now that Zuri is part of the Hogle Zoo family, and there will be plenty of pumpkins for the elephants to kick and stomp at Elephant Encounter.

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