GUATEMALA CITY – Peaceful and evidently happy, Trompita the elephant celebrated on Sunday her 57th birthday with a cake in Guatemala City’s Aurora Zoo.
Hundreds of visitors sang birthday songs and watched the pachyderm blow out the candles on her 100-kilogram (220-pound) birthday cake, made up of corncobs, carrots, watermelon, bananas, apples, sweet potatoes and peanuts.
Originally named “Bombi,” the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), was rescued from a circus in 2008 and adopted as a special member of the zoo’s family.
She and her caretaker, Romeo “Tarzan” Lopez, have been together since both were seven, thus sharing a special bond.
Tarzan was offered $300,000 for the elephant when he was forced to close the circus he managed, but he “couldn’t do it,” he said.
Trompita eats an average of 181 kilograms (400 pounds) of fruit and vegetables each day and her life expectancy in the zoo environment is 70 years, as opposed to her natural habitat, where it would be just 60.
Nine years ago, another famous elephant – “Mocosita” – lived in the same habitat, which now sports a plaque in her honor.
“From a far-off country they brought us a nice little elephant who traveled by land and sea ... She made La Aurora zoo her home and ‘Mocosita’ was her name,” the plaque reads.
Mocosita arrived at the zoo on Jan. 1, 1952, and shared the habitat with Trompita during her final few months until her death from a heart attack on July 19, 2008.
Trompita is healthy and has suffered no significant illnesses in recent times.