Saturday 3 December 2016

Zoo encourages elephants to swim

Published 13/07/2015 | 12:16

An Asian elephant swims at Fuji Safari Park in Susono, Japan (AP)
An Asian elephant swims at Fuji Safari Park in Susono, Japan (AP)

A zoo in Japan has built a swimming pool for its resident elephants.

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At 65m-long, the pool has been built to replicate the scale of the type of river the elephants would have to cross in the wild.

Staff at Fuji Safari Park, so named because it sits at the foot of Mount Fuji, say the elephants now eat far more after swimming three or four laps a day.

And it appears the zoo is all about the visitor experience, e ven allowing customers to cuddle and pet lion cubs.

With staff looking on, visitors also get to pose for a photograph with the little lions.

A spokesman said: "This new facility we built allows people to see what happens underwater, enabling us to understand how the elephants move their legs to swim, and how they emerge just the tip of the nose from the water to breathe. It was really surprising."

Press Association

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