Birthday girl Tarli, Woburn Safari Park’s adorable Asian elephant calf, was given a special surprise for her fourth birthday last week.
Little Tarli has a lot to celebrate, including surviving a virus comparable to Ebola in humans, so keepers gave her a celebration she’d never forget.
During an educational demonstration in the Foot Safari’s Elephant Meadows enclosure, keepers unveiled a delicious cake and presents to the young calf.
Designed to provide enrichment, the cake was made of bran, banana, apple, carrots, watermelon and coconut, while fruits were wrapped in boxes for her to discover.
The celebration was a family affair with mum, Damini, and aunties, Yu Zin and Chandrika, joining in on the festivities.
Mark Redrup, Deputy Elephant Keeper, said: “Every animal birthday is important but as any parent will tell you the first few are always extra special. Given that Asian elephants are endangered in the wild and how brave Tarli has been this last year, we have all the more reason to celebrate.
"She was very curious when we gave her the birthday treats, and came running up to find out what all the fuss was about. With a bit of help from mum and the herd she scoffed it up in no time at all!”
Earlier this year Tarli survived elephant endotheliotrophic herpes virus (EEHV), an aggressive disease which is fatal in 80% of recorded cases.
The virus can seriously weaken the circulatory system in juvenile elephants leading to rapid deterioration. As a result of regular blood testing, the EEHV infection was detected early and supportive treatment in the form of antiviral and plasma transfusions began immediately.