This winter, with Perth temperatures plunging to single digits, Tricia has been feeling the cold more than usual.
Senior Elephant Keeper, Kirsty Carey, said: “On the cooler days we’ve noticed Tricia shivering on her morning walk around the Zoo.”
“Her barn is heated to a pleasurable 20 degrees during winter, but once she steps outside it is apparent she is feeling the cold.”
“Tricia’s health and welfare is our number one priority so we wanted to ensure she was warm and comfortable at all times. That led us to brainstorming various ideas and a giant blanket became an obvious solution to keep Trish warm without impeding her natural daily activities.”
“At the moment we are teaching Tricia to be comfortable with having a piece material across her back. We started by placing towels on her back and rewarding her with her favourite foods.”
“We don’t just put a blanket on her and hope she’ll be fine, we take it in baby steps and will gradually progress to having her wear a specially designed elephant blanket. This gradual approach ensures Tricia is happy as well as warm. It’s all about making her as comfortable as possible.”
Having celebrated her 60th birthday in January, Tricia is one of the oldest Asian Elephants to be cared for by a zoo. In recent years she has begun to experience various age related complaints.
“She’s certainly slowed down a lot in the last year and also receives deep tissue massages with the assistance of an equine massage therapy pad to alleviate age related niggles.”
“We hope the addition of a specialised elephant blanket will make winter a bit more bearable for Tricia,” said Kirsty.
Tricia has lived at Perth Zoo since arriving from Singapore in 1963 and is the most well-known animal at the zoo.
The longest lived elephant in Australasia was 63 years of age.