Taipei Zoo enlist elderly for elephant conservation


TAIPEI — Despite the massive public attention garnered by the newborn panda at Taipei Zoo, officials said Wednesday that the zoo will feature elephants in October and asked senior citizens to spread a message of conservation for the animal, which is known for its longevity.

The month-long campaign will include an event in which 200 people aged 60 or over will be asked to interact with the four elephants at the zoo, according to zoo spokesman Chao Ming-chieh.

Chao said the event, to take place on Oct. 12, is designed to coincide with the Double Ninth Festival on the following day — the ninth day of the ninth month of the lunar calendar — when the public is encouraged to pay respect to the country’s senior citizens.

“Elephants are generally long lived, which makes them kind of like the senior members in our homes,” Chao said.

The zoo is hoping to create a scene of harmony between humans and animals by bringing the elephants and the old people together, and hopes also to further emphasize the importance of wildlife conservation, Chao said.

During the celebration, participants will be given guided tours featuring elephants, Chao said, adding that there will also be hands-on activities so senior citizens can make a variety of elephant-themed handicrafts.