Tina the elephant marks 50th milestone

Tina the elephant marks 50th milestone

Belfast Zoo's most famous resident, Tina the elephant, has marked a very important milestone this month as she celebrated her 50th birthday.

On her special day, Tina was pampered with a birthday breakfast before being spoiled with a pedicure and moisturising session.

And many visitors arrived at the Zoo to wish the much loved animal a very happy birthday, many of whom had their own memories of Tina from when they were younger.

Zoo keeper, Peter Cross, told UTV: "It is surprising the amount of people that have come to the zoo and they go: "Is that the same Tina I knew when I was a child?"

"Tina could live, easily, another 50 years."

Tina arrived at Belfast Zoo in 1966, from Tyseley Pet Store, in Birmingham. The cost of shipping an elephant was £20.

When she first arrived in Belfast, she measured only one metre in height and weighed about 150 kilograms.

Over the years, Tina has become well-known and loved with both Belfast Zoo staff and visitors and while she lived in her enclosure in the 'old zoo' site, she gained a notorious reputation...

Mr Cross explained: "When she was in the old zoo people had a lot more contact with her and she would take people's handbags, steal coats, umbrellas."

When the new zoo was developed, Tina was placed in the new elephant and giraffe house which she has shared with a number of elephants over the years. She now lives with Yhetto and Dhunja, as part of Belfast Zoo's elephant sanctuary for elderly non-breeding females.

Zoo curator, Alyn Cairns, said: "As Tina was originally bought from a pet shop, we have no official record of her birth date. However, we do know that she arrived in 1966, at the age of 18 months which means that she is 50 this year.

"I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Tina for more than 20 years and her mischievous behaviour has made her a firm favourite with not only the staff who work with her but also our visitors."


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