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It’s party time for Point Defiance Zoo’s Asian elephants

Suki and Hanako have reached the Big 5-0, and Point Defiance Zoo is throwing the two Asian elephants a birthday party Saturday.

Suki, 50, and Hanako, 51, have reached a milestone by living a half century. The average life expectancy for an Asian elephants in the wild is 43 years and 44 years in captivity.

The elephants will celebrate their birthdays at 1 p.m. by eating a special cake provided by staff members. Visitors will get cupcakes along with tours of the elephant barn. Children can make elephant-themed art projects.

Zookeepers will be on hand to talk about Suki and Hanako, as well as elephants in general.

“Our visitors are extremely fortunate to view these elephants as close as they can and also learn about Asian elephants in general and to learn about the threats they face,” said zoo spokeswoman Kris Sherman.

The biggest threat is the illegal ivory trade, with 96 elephants killed each day in Africa for their tusks, Sherman said.

Saturday’s birthday party will include information about the 96 Elephants Campaign, which supports a ban on ivory sales. Visitors can sign a petition to help support wild elephants.

“We are letting them know about ways they can connect and help protect elephants in the wild,” Sherman said.

Saturday’s event is free with zoo admission or membership to the zoo.

More information is available at www.pdza.org.

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