PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIn 6) – The Oregon Zoo celebrated Packy’s 52nd birthday on Monday, presenting the oldest male Asian elephant in North America with a 40 pound birthday cake.
The zoo’s executive chef Paul Bosch prepared a 40 pound whole-wheat confection, frosted with buttercream and topped with carrots, bananas, apples and sweet potatoes for Packy to enjoy.
“Packy has slowed down a bit in his old age, but he wasn’t about to miss out on his cake,” said Bob Lee, the zoo’s elephant curator in a press release. “He strolled out very leisurely today and looked very much the elder statesman, which you’d expect from the continent’s oldest male Asian elephant.”
Zoo veterinarians said Packy’s health is generally good for his age and are currently working with USDA experts to plan a new course of treatment for combating the elephant’s tuberculosis, which was first discovered last July.
Though he has shown no signs of illness from the TB, treating him has proved challenging, vets said.
“Packy’s advanced age is one thing we take into account in coming up with his treatment plan,” said zoo veterinarian Tim Storms in a press release. “Just as with humans, the effects of these medications vary from patient to patient, and Packy seems to be more sensitive to one of the drugs. We’re starting a new regimen this week, and we hope this is the one that works for him.”
In 1962, Packy became the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years, and his birth has helped scientists better understand elephants and opened the door to a new era in elephant welfare, according to