Tuesday 6 December 2016

Elephant shows off artistic side

Published 20/09/2011 | 14:41

One of the elephants at Whipsnade Zoo likes to relax by painting (ZSL Whipsnade Zoo/PA)
One of the elephants at Whipsnade Zoo likes to relax by painting (ZSL Whipsnade Zoo/PA)

Most elephants at Whipsnade Zoo are content relaxing in their paddock, but one 13-year-old has a unique hobby.

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Karishma likes to spend her days painting and can regularly be seen putting brush to easel at the Bedfordshire zoo.

Holding the brush firmly in her trunk, the female Asian elephant has developed quite a talent for painting a pretty picture or two.

Karishma arrived at the zoo four years ago and became a mother for the first time last April, giving birth to baby George

The elephants at the zoo start the day with breakfast, before they all get a daily shower and foot check from their keepers.

They then go outside to the paddock, with enrichment toys such as tyres stuffed with hay and treats, and then the whole herd embarks on a walk around the 600 acre site, walking along trunk-to-tail.

Visitors to the zoo this weekend will be able to see a selection of Karishma's artwork, which is on display as part of Elephant Appreciation Day.

The two-day event is aimed at raising money for the Zoological Society of London's elephant conservation projects around the world.

During the weekend visitors who make a donation will be given a guided tour of the elephant's enclosure and can have their photograph taken with one of the animals. There will also be demonstrations, face painting and other activities.

Elizabeth Becker, elephant keeper at the zoo, said: "Karishma really enjoys painting, and it demonstrates just how dexterous elephants' trunks really are."

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