Sunday, August 30, 2009

Farewell to a well loved Elephant: Kashin

Kashin aged 40, the Thai elephant, born in captivity, came to Auckland when she was four in 1972. She was well loved especially by the children in her 36 years at the Auckland Zoo.

My school has close collaboration with the zoo by providing the zoo with mealworms that the school children grow in the class rooms. We are also very near to the zoo which makes it extra special for our school children. On Environmental day, some of our five year olds went to the zoo to teach others how we respect the planet. My students cry when they talked about her dying. Some couldn't understand why the big people had to kill her.

Kashin suffered from arthritis, foot abscesses and skin infections, and had gone downhill rapidly over the previous three days. On Monday the team agreed that her pain was too great. About 5pm she was asked to lie down and given favourite foods to eat before being sedated, then euthanased. She had a mate, Burma who was there when the sad event took place. Burma was a very heart broken elephant and was distressed. I was told that elephants don't forget.

They had to use a big digger to dig a big hole at the end of the zoo to bury her.
The zoo was opened today for the children of Auckland to farewell her. Entry to the zoo was free today, in her honour. Mayor John Banks says it was be a fitting tribute. People had an opportunity to visit Kashin's final resting place and pay their respects. It was the only time the public were able to access the area.

Kashin was the official mascot of Auckland Saving's Bank, and children starting a savings account were given a yellow "elephant" piggy bank. During the annual Santa's parade, Kashin the elephant flew as a balloon.

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