Yangon Zoo threw a birthday party for its oldest elephant, MoMo, on October 21 last. Thousands of her human admirers gathered at the Yangon Zoological Garden to wish the beloved pachyderm a happy 65th birthday.
A report published in the The Irrawaddy stated that MoMo was dressed in a bright, sparkly red outfit for the occasion, which reached its climax as she blew out the candles on her jumbo-sized birthday cake. She and five of her junior elephants from the zoo were also treated to a fruit buffet, musical performances by local idols, animal dances, games and even a comedy show.
The report further stated that Yangon Zoo has celebrated MoMo’s birthday every year since 2010; the party has become something of an event and always draws a crowd. MoMo has long been Yangon’s (Myanmar) favourite elephant; for nearly 55 years she charmed the city’s residents with her special talents such as dancing with a football, playing the harmonica and shaking her hips to the beat. She finally retired as a performer at age 60, said Ko Aung Win Thaung, the elephant keeper at Yangon Zoo.
Every Sunday for decades, Yangon Zoo was packed with families flocking in to see MoMo’s show. She is now an institution among city-dwellers. “I’ve been working with MoMo for nearly 10 years. She’s a clever one. Currently, she is the matriarch of a group of six elephants at Yangon Zoo,” Ko Aung Win Thaung said.
“She’s getting on a bit now and would like to enjoy a quiet life, but the younger elephants are playful and she gets cross with them. At the same time, she’s teaching them life lessons, and not to make trouble,” he said. MoMo was born in 1953 in Loikaw, Kayah State. Her owner, U Khoon Sandah, donated her to the zoo in 1961.