Why, a 50-pound birthday cake, of course! But you don’t just roll in to the bakery for one of these babies. Nope, you gotta put a whole lot of love into making treats on this scale. Erin and Jen, two of our super-fabulous elephant keepers are doing just that, but don’t tell Jana-it’s a surprise for her! She just turned 32, and even though it’s not a milestone, her keepers said that’s no reason not to party. So they have been busy constructing special birthday treats for Jana, Edie and Tonka, our African elephants.
When you’re making treats for a 15,500 pound, 9,500 pound and 8,500 pound elephants, it sure puts things in a different perspective. Here’s the beginnings of Jana’s “cake” (note keepers in the background for scale)…
In case you are new to the elephant birthday cake scene, perhaps you’re wondering why we are showing you enormous cardboard boxes rather than actual pastries. Well, it’s little hard to find a 50-pound petit four, and that can go straight to an elephant’s hips just like ours. So our very clever keeper staff make the elephants’ treats out of cardboard, flour and water made into a paste, and paper-all safe for them to interact with and even eat. (While that may sound pretty unpalatable to you and I, they actually enjoy tearing into their prizes. Look at it this way-cardboard and paper are made out of trees, which are one of the things they love to eat.) Once they’ve got the shells put together, they’ll fill them with 50 pounds of hay, biscuits, bread, produce and even a few sweet treats since it’s a special occasion.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a party without balloons, but since real balloons are dangerous for animals to ingest, they’ve got that all figured out-papier mache balloons! Here they are, hanging out to dry. They’ll be stuffed full of goodies, too.
They’re still putting the finishing touches on things, but will have everything ready for a little impromptu celebration on Saturday, September 1st, at 2:00 p.m. You’re all welcome to come down to the Stokely African Elephant Preserve and watch them enjoy their treats. Although they won’t last long. Half the fun is tearing into your gifts, as all birthday girls know.