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Photo by Paul Fahy
Luk Chai cools off under the waterfall

Taronga Zoo’s elephants have found a fun way to beat the hot and sticky weather this week, cooling off with a shower and play under the waterfall.

With temperatures climbing towards 30 degrees over the past few days, five-year-old Asian Elephant, Luk Chai, and his mother, Thong Dee, wasted no time in plunging into the pool in their lower paddock.

“The elephants will usually head straight for the water on hot days, submerging themselves, rolling around and even somersaulting underwater. The young calves also love to play about and dunk each other. It’s a great pool party,” said Elephant Keeper, Ian Gleichman.

Swimming and taking baths is a major part of life for the elephants at Taronga and in the wild.

“In the wild they spend a lot of time in rivers, lakes and mud wallows. We’re fortunate to have two great pool areas at Taronga where our elephants can cool down and the waterfall is always a favourite,” said Ian.

“I think they really enjoy the feel and sensation of the running water on their skin. Sometimes they’ll just kick back and relax with their legs in the air.”

Ian said swimming was also a terrific social activity for the elephants, particularly Taronga’s three calves.

“Playing in the water is a great form of exercise for our young elephants and it provides an opportunity for them to develop physical and social skills that they’ll continue to use as they get older,” he said.

A good time to see Taronga’s Asian Elephant herd is during the daily keeper talk at 1.15pm.

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