PORTLAND, Ore. – More than a half century has passed since Packy the elephant's newsmaking birth at the Oregon Zoo. He's now a six-ton senior citizen and considered geriatric at age 52.
He approached his birthday cake at a leisurely pace Monday, but zoo officials say he wasted no time demolishing the 40-pound whole wheat offering that included carrots, bananas, apples and sweet potatoes. Zoo executive chef Paul Bosch says the cake was "pretty healthful" except for the five pounds of butter in the buttercream frosting. (The chef says that's not really THAT much butter for a 12,000-pound elephant.)
Zoo spokesman Hova Najarian says zoo vets are working with U.S. Agriculture Department experts to plan a new course of treatment for Packy's tuberculosis, discovered last July. He's shown no signs of illness yet but is sensitive to one of the typically used drugs. Zoo vet Tim Storms says a new treatment regimen starts this week.
In 1962, the zoo says Packy became the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere in 44 years.