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Bunka the Elephant Turns Six

By Ana Devdariani and Ekaterine Tchelidze
Tuesday, December 31
Bunka the elephant celebrated his sixth birthday with a small mountain of carrots and a happy birthday song sung to him by the children from the Tbilisi Zoo’s Educational Center. Bunka, one of the zoo’s two resident elephants was born on December 30, 2007. “His birth was a New Year’s surprise so we celebrate his birthday every year,” the zoo’s media coordinator Khatia Basilashvili said.

The elephants’ enclosure was decorated with hay, pumpkins and a tree full of apples just for the occasion. The children took turns piling up carrots in the shape of a large number six.

Bunka and his mother are two of the zoo’s favorite residents and The Children’s Educational Center often organizes events for them. They love playing scavenger hunts, where the children hide food in different spots for the elephants to find.

The zoo’s educational program has been around for a little over six-years now and includes several age groups. Basilashvili attributes its success to the children’s opportunity to learn by interacting with the animals, which she believes makes the studying process fun.