The biggest ever pumpkin shown at the Sydney Royal Easter Show was trucked to Taronga Zoo on Wednesday and given to the elephants on Friday morning. It was an interesting use for the pumpkins which would normally be recycled as green waste after the show.
Asian elephants Porntip and Pak Boon along with calves Pathi Harn and Tukta were quick to pounce on the pumpkin. The adult elephants had eaten pumpkin in their former home of Thailand but keepers were keen to see what they thought of this giant one.
Steve Westnedge, Taronga Zoo’s elephant keeper said, “We’re always looking for new foods and enrichment items to challenge and stimulate our extraordinary animals. Elephants have many remarkable skills and environmental enrichment is a great way to encourage these skills and arouse their natural curiosity.”
Elephants at Taronga Zoo are regularly provided with fiborous palm logs, pineapple plant tops and other interesting food items for them to try. “When we saw the giant pumpkin in the news, we thought it was a fun opportunity to bring a taste of the Easter Show to Taronga and offer a nutritious and challenging treat to the Zoo’s largest animals,” added Westnedge.
The pumpkin was displayed alongside 50,000 other pieces of fruit and veg in the Flower and Garden Pavillion at the Royal Easter Show. Chief Operating Officer for the show, Michael Collins said, “The Great Backyard Pumpkin Challenge is one of our most popular displays at the Show, and this year grower Dale Oliver produced the largest pumpkin ever seen in Australasia. The Show celebrates the country coming to the city, so it’s great to be able to share this record breaking pumpkin from regional NSW with our giant friends here at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo.”
Photo Credit: Paul Fahy/ Taronga Zoo