Playtime in the pool is one of Permai, the Asian elephant’s favourite activities. Her keepers will throw items into the water and Permai will dive under to retrieve them.
All three of the Zoo’s elephants, including older female Tricia and male, Putra Mas, also take dips, but Permai and Putra Mas seem to relish splashing around most frequently.
Enrichment activities are a regular program for all the animals at the Zoo for their physical and mental wellbeing, so having both land and water activities for the elephants, allows for more variety.
In the wild Asian elephants will often bathe to keep cool, along with using their trunk to spray themselves with water, they may sometimes cover themselves in mud or soil. No need for an air conditioner when you have a powerful trunk.
These incredible land mammals are excellent swimmers and can comfortably immerse themselves underwater with just their trunk above the surface. We wonder if elephants may have been the inspiration behind snorkelling?!
Earlier this year, news reports featured an elephant being assisted back to shore by the Sri Lankan Navy after it was found swimming more than 16 km out to sea from the coast.
According to some scientific research, elephants are believed to share the same ancestors as two marine creatures, manatees and dugongs, so their comfort level in the water is not too surprising. Although with their very different body type, including powerful legs, they have a very different swimming style.
Check out Permai enjoying a springtime splash in her exhibit, playing with one of her keepers, Kirsty. Lucky for us, Kirsty placed a go-pro camera under the water, so you can enjoy a closer look of pool-time!