Almost two decades ago, he came to us from Holland. And now we can no longer imagine Kharkiv Zoo without the handsome elephant Aun Nain Lei, who is celebrating his twenty-third birthday today.
The giant arrived at our zoo in April 2002 as part of the program of the European Association of Zoos for the conservation and breeding of rare species of animals from the Emmensky Zoo, where he was born. In this zoo there is a tradition to call all elephants by Burmese names. The name Aung Nain Lei means "Born Winner". The birth of Aun itself, which became a landmark, can be considered a kind of victory. Indeed, in European zoos, this was the first case of the birth of an elephant in a herd without human intervention.
Traditionally, the birthdays of our elephants are big holidays. And they start with gifts! This time, the birthday man was waiting for an international cake, the tiers of which were the flags of Holland, where Aun is from, and Ukraine, which has become a cozy home.
Each layer of the cake had a filling. The bottom one was filled with hay, the other three were assorted goodies. Here you can find bananas, melons, pears, carrots, beets, cabbage, bread. The cake was decorated with candles made of carrots and beets, and the inscription 23 carved on pumpkins. It turned out really bright and festive.
The birthday man was also in a festive mood. While the final preparations of the gift were going on, Aun was waiting with interest and impatience for his exit to the aviary. And as soon as he was in it, he went to the cake. He did not enjoy the aesthetic beauty for a long time - he destroyed the cake and immediately started tasting it. The birthday boy liked melons, bananas, pears and bread most of all. The elephant ate them first, then checked if there were any of these goodies in the boxes, and only then switched to another treat. With a crunch, Aun ate first the pumpkin number two, and then the number three.
On his birthday, the elephant did not forget about games and pampering. He played with pumpkins as if with balls, stomped boxes, tossed them up and put them on his trunk. Therefore, there is no doubt - the birthday man was happy, because the holiday turned out to be tasty and interesting!
Aung Nain Lei belongs to the Asian elephants. Their habitat is the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina and the islands of Southeast Asia, Sumatra. These elephants reach a height of 2.5-3.3 meters. The weight is 2.7-5.5 tons. Sometimes up to 7 tons. Life expectancy is up to 50 years.