Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Elephants swimming. Photo by Rick Stevens

As temperatures are expected to reach 41 degrees in Dubbo today, it is expected the resident elephants at Taronga Western Plains Zoo will be making great use of their pools and mud wallows as they have been over the last few days. Just like humans elephants enjoy cooling their bodies in the hot weather. They especially like immersing themselves in water and often engage in a good wrestle in the water with other members of their herd. Elephant Keeper Joel Kerr caught our two adolescent Asian Elephant males Luk Chai and Pathi Harn grappling in the water this week.

“Elephants are naturally strong swimmers, so being in the water is not unusual to them. The boys particularly love the water. They get in the pools in their exhibit and try to dunk each other much like teenage boys would,” said Joel.

An elephant's ears also work to cool their bodies down in the heat. Visitors may see the Elephants flapping their ears from front to back, this works as a built-in cooling mechanism.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is home to seven Elephants including one African Elephant, Cuddles. “All the elephants enjoy the water, some like to soak under a zoo keeper’s hose while others wrestle in the pools,” said Joel. Visitors to the zoo will be able to see the elephants cooling off this Summer from the African viewing platform. Visitors can learn more about the elephants during the daily keeper talk at 11:45am or by clicking the link

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo, NSW and is open every day. For more information visit


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