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Oregon Zoo Elephants Smash Some Squashes for Halloween

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 25, 2020 8:30 am

Oregon Zoo Elephants Smash Some Squashes for Halloween

LJ the duiker calf explores the paddock with mum, Flower

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

Some mammoth sized animals have demolished some mammoth sized pumpkins at Oregon Zoo’s 22nd annual Squishing of the Squash.

The giant pumpkins to be squished were provided by Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Club members Larry Nelson and Jim Paino. Along with being a fun way to welcome Halloween the oversized vegetables provide physical and mental stimulation for the Asian elephants.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting our ability to gather in large groups, we couldn’t invite visitors this year, but we couldn’t let the elephants miss out on the fun,” said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo elephant area. “Our elephant family got one 800-pound (362.8kg) pumpkin and another 600-pound (272kg) one to stomp on, munch on and play with.”

Video Credit: Oregon Zoo

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The tradition of the squishing of the squash began in 1999 when Hoffman’s Dairy Garden of Canby dropped off a prize-winning 828-pound (375.6kg) pumpkin for the elephant family to enjoy. At this time it was common for local farmers to drop off Halloween pumpkins for use in enrichment.

At the time enrichment was a ground-breaking concept which was being established. Oregon Zoo hosted the first environmental enrichment conference in 1993 which produced the book the book Second Nature. This was co-edited by former deputy conservation manager, Dr. David Shepherdson, and Dr. Jill Mellen, currently a member of the zoo’s animal welfare committee.

Oregon Zoo has been running its Asian elephant program for 60 years. With just 40-50,000 Asian elephants remaining in the wild Oregon Zoo support a range of efforts to protect the Asian elephant. This has included establishing a a $1 million endowment fund supporting Asian elephant conservation.

Oregon Zoo Elephants Smash Some Squashes for Halloween

LJ the duiker calf explores the paddock with mum, Flower

Photo Credit: The Maryland Zoo

Learn more about the Asian elephantAsian Elephant Fact File | The Animal Facts


Learn more about the Oregon Zoo on their website – Oregon Zoo

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