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Erna was bred by her father at least twice resulting in births: Lina in 1992 and Yuan Yuan in 2001.
The 19-year-old mother elephant Erna lazily paces up and down inside the tall room as her three-month-old son, Yuanyuan, rubs his head against her legs. They ignore visitors who try to cheer them up, showing interest only when zoo keeper Wang Haitong enters their compound with a hose to cool them off.
During the lingering heat, Wang has to chase the elephants outdoors to stretch their legs in the early morning. The rest of the time, they cool themselves in the deep, 300-square-metre pond, waiting for the temperatures to abate.
Although elephants live naturally in tropical climates, they are acclimated to the rainforest, where the frequent rain and dense foliage keep them cool.
In the zoo, the natural environment is much different. Once the temperature rises to 35 degrees centigrade, it's clear that these huge animals feel uncomfortable.
After their early morning exercise, Wang moves them inside, spraying them with cool water several times a day and feeding them green grass and watermelon.
"If I feed them dry grass, they will stand there and stage a hunger strike," Wang smiled.
There are three resident Adult
elephants and two baby elephants, each of which needs about 50 kilograms of watermelon daily. Because of the expense, they only receive 25 kilograms.
Animal Cool, 2001-08-02