One of Perth’s ‘icons’ turns 50 this year and a big celebration has been organised to celebrate the event this weekend.
Tricia, Perth Zoo’s Asian elephant, has been a part of Western Australian families since she arrived from Vietnam as a six-year-old in 1963.
“Virtually everyone in the State under the age of 40 who has been to the zoo would have seen Tricia,” Environment Minister Tony McRae said today.
“She probably is the most well-known animal in the State.”
Mr McRae said there had been significant changes at the zoo over the past 44 years.
“Perth Zoo has grown and developed into one of the best zoos in the region,” he said.
“Its animal husbandry, captive breeding programs, research and education programs are world-class.
“An example of this is the care Tricia receives in her compound, which will be enlarged and developed further this year.”
The Minister said six specialist keepers worked with Perth Zoo’s elephants.
Tricia is walked daily around the zoo to keep her healthy and fit. She has a swimming pool which she shares with the zoo’s younger elephants and her exhibit has special movement detector water fountains, sleeping mounds and scratching poles.
“She is a part of an animal ‘enrichment program’ involving activities like painting, soccer and even playing music,” Mr McRae said.
Tricia’s birthday is being marked by Perth Zoo by special birthday celebrations and a special ‘birthday cake’ made of fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers.
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Perth Zoo’s Tricia and Perth Zoo’s Asian elephants.
Perth Zoo’s first elephant arrived there in October 1900 and was a gift to the zoo donated by the then Mayor of South Perth, Mr J S Charles.
Tricia arrived at Perth Zoo in January 1963 from Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) via Singapore. She was named after Tricia Resche, Miss Australia 1962.
In 1986, Tricia moved to a large new enclosure which included a new barn area and swimming pool. In 1992, Tricia was joined by three young elephants, gifts from the Government of Malaysia. A further large exhibit was constructed in 2005 for the Zoo’s elephant ‘herd’.
Further development of the Asian elephant exhibit is planned for 2007, with the construction of an increased exhibit area and a visitor auditorium. This should be completed by July 2007.
New educational interpretation material has recently been developed in Perth Zoo’s Asian rainforest, with an audio-visual display about Asian elephants and other Asian animals. This is housed in the recently constructed ‘Bukit Station’, which is built in the style of a Sumatran conservation camp.
Tricia is the ‘matriarch’ of Perth Zoo’s elephant group. The other elephants are named Putra Mas (aged 17), Permai (17) and Teduh (16).
Although she has never had an offspring herself, over the past three years Perth Zoo has been working to encourage natural breeding with the younger elephants.