Yangon’s oldest elephant Mo Mo turns 64

An elephant at the Yangon Zoological Garden.
An elephant at the Yangon Zoological Garden.

The Yangon Zoological Garden held a celebration over the weekend in honor of Mo Mo – the city’s oldest elephant – who just celebrated her 64th birthday.

The celebration was held on Saturday and Sunday and included special entertainment programs and discounts for visitors.

The zoo celebrates Mo Mo’s birthday every year by dressing her up in a sparkly outfit and releasing a number of birds equal to her age.

“We treat her like a human,” said zoo manager Aye Hlaing in 2015.

Mo Mo was born in 1953 and entered captivity at the age of seven, when a lumberjack named Khun Sanda found her lost in the forest, separated from her family.

She was initially trained to work in logging, but her humans eventually decided to send her to the Yangon Zoological Garden, where she has risen to fame through her harmonica performances and dance routines.

Over the many decades she has spent at the zoo, she has watched old friends pass away and keepers retire.

In 1994 and 1996, she participated in parades held to celebrate the arrival of a Chinese Buddha tooth relic, according to the Myanmar Times.

She survived serious stomach illness in 1997, but her health is reportedly otherwise good.

Zoo veterinarian Myint Thein told Eleven: “Sixty-four years old is quite old. Humans would have hair turning white and loosing teeth, but that is still not so for Mo Mo. It is actually quite important for elephants to have their teeth intact because when they eat, they have to be able to grind it down in their mouth. Otherwise they risk dying from indigestion.”

He added: “Mo Mo is one of the lucky ones among the elephants. Her karma is unmatched. She has no illnesses to speak of, and she’s still loved by the people even after so long.”


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