Interview with Capri, young Asian elephant at Moscow Zoo



Where were you born, and when did you move into the zoo?

I didn’t move in, my parents did. My dad Pamir and my mum Pipita came all the way here from far away Vietnam. I was born here on the 22nd of April 2009, right here in Moscow and this is my home most of the time.

What do you like to do, what games do you like to play?

Like all my friends, I like to run around, be mischievous, put my trunk in people’s pockets, tease my mother to get me some food. I really enjoy it when my trainer Renat comes round and we do exercises together. He gives me loads of tasty things to eat, so I have a lot to do.

What’s the food like here?

Well, it’s OK. Mostly grass, hay, willow twigs, something like what the English call All-Bran, loads of vegetables, but my favourite are cabbages, carrots, beetroots. When Renat comes he brings biscuits, bananas and things like that, really good stuff.

What does the trainer teach you?

Renat says things like: “stand with your side towards me”, and I turn around with my side in his direction. The he asks me to turn round, and show him my other side, he’s always patting me and gives me injections when I get ill. But he always puts something tasty in my trunk, which I really like, and I wish he’d come more often. We play games like me lifting up my foot, and reaching out to him, then the next foot and then the other two. It’s a lot of fun, and he seems to enjoy it. One day when I was a bit annoyed at some of the human beings who chuck things over the fence which taste really weird, I damaged one of my tusks against a wall because I got angry, and Renat came to see me everyday until it was better.

What does your mum think of all this? Doesn’t she think that all these fun and games are a bit silly?

Not really. Between you and me, she suffers from problems with her feet, and Renat helps her, by cleaning and healing them. We like it when human beings help us, something they don’t do with each other very much, at least that’s what I think.

Do you like swimming?

Oh, I LOVE swimming.

Where do you swim?

In the summer we have a special swimming bath, which is really cool, I really love to go and stretch my legs underwater. In the winter, which is sooo long in Moscow, we use the shower and I usually take a couple of showers a day. When I was smaller, I used to shower in a little waterfall we have at the back of our house, but I’m a bit too big for that now. I still use it though!

Capri, you talked about the human beings who chuck things over the fence, what do you think about them?

Well I think they are a bit strange, they keep on coming up to the fence and looking at us, for hours on end. They point these box type things at us and then take them away again, really odd. The children are quite fun, especially the ones of about my age, they want to play with me and sometimes I have a bit of fun with them. Dad tends to more or less ignore them, he thinks that they make a lot of noise and fuss, and think that the whole world belongs to them, and have really weird behaviour patterns. But Renat isn’t like that, he talks to us and treats us like elephants, not like the others.

But mostly we just ignore them.

Thank you Capri, have a nice day!

Moscow Zoo opening and closing times in winter (December to March):

10am-5 pm (ticket office closes at 4 pm)

Cost: Adults Mon-Fri:
400 roubles, on weekends
500 roubles

Children: (0 to 17) – free admission

Educational programs:

Besides traditional guided tours and lectures, we organize interactive programs that includes theatre performances, quests and animal shows. There are different options, topics and difficulty of tasks, depending on age and individual choice.

For the 5 to teens and beyond, we have the ‘Art-Zebra’ studios – children’s creative workshops (drawing & painting, sculpting, animal photography courses).

We also run summer camps for children aged 7-13. We have four 14-days long programs. Parents bring their children every day at 9am and pick them up at 6pm.

We have many interactive educational programs for schools (kindergarten to high grades, depending on their school program), we also have a drama group for kids 7+, tea-parties at the zoo (discussions on ‘animal’ themes relevant for teens and adults).

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New programmes for children and adults are being prepared for the New Year. For more information on these and existing programmes, phone: +7 499 255 5763