Hyderabad: A photo of an old majestic elephant cutting a cake did the rounds on social media on Saturday. Meet Rani, an enthusiastic and one of the most-loved inmates of the Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park. Rani turned 80 on Saturday, and zoo officials ensured that Rani celebrated her birthday in grandeur. Rani cut a giant plum cake for the occasion with a knife she held with her trunk. The 80-year-old is the oldest mammal in the zoo and is a favourite among the zoo’s keepers.
Rani’s birthday coincides with the 55th anniversary celebrations of the zoo. Speaking to TNM, public relations officer, Anif said that Rani was given as a gift to the zoo from the then Nizam of Hyderabad after the zoo was opened to the public in 1963.
“Rani has been living in the zoo right from its inception. She’s the oldest among the five elephants here. On Saturday, as Rani turned 80, the staff wanted to celebrate the occasion and we brought a huge cake which she cut. She was decked up with huge garlands and shiny ribbons were tied to her legs. Since she doesn’t eat any kind of savouries, we treated her with cartloads of bananas and jaggery. She relished on a dozen coconuts, one of her favourite foods,” says Anif.
Anif adds that everyone in the zoo loves Rani. Despite being one of the oldest members of the zoo, is the most enthusiastic.“She throws no tantrums and is one of the most poised animals we have. There are five elephants in the zoo and every time the zookeeper gives Rani her feed, she ensures all five of them get their food at the same time and that too in equal quantity. If not, she shares her food and tries feeding them with her trunk,” Anif says.
As the picture of Rani cutting her birthday cake has begun doing rounds on social media, Anif says that this is not the first time authorities are celebrating birthdays of the animals in the zoo.
“We, in fact, celebrate most of their birthdays on the date they were brought to the zoo. In case of wild animals such as tigers and Asiatic lions, we make a kid among the visitors cut the cake and distribute it among the staff and visitors. On their birthdays, the animals are treated with special feed, depending on the items they like to relish,” explains Anif.
As the zoo celebrates its 55th anniversary, the authorities have announced the operation of a new toy train in the zoo. Also, the zoo’s lonely giraffe will be soon getting the company of two more giraffes, who are going to be brought over from the Kolkata zoo. The authorities also released a newborn squirrel monkey and a hyena into the enclosure for public display. Several employees who have been toiling hard for the welfare of the zoo animals and for providing better facilities to visitors were also awarded during the occasion.
The News Minute
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