Home Latest News Petita, Benidorm’s famous elephant, turns 50 this month

Petita, Benidorm’s famous elephant, turns 50 this month

Join in the birthday celebrations at an Indian-styled party at Terra Natura on August 20.

by Barry Duke
Petita, Benidorm's famous elephant, turns 50 this month

Once upon a time, there was an elephant that was so skinny and malformed that other elephants in the herd rejected and bullied her.

Sounds like the theme of a book for children.

Well, it certainly is, but Trompetita, una elefantita de mucho peso (Trumpet, a very heavy elephant)—written by María Luz Pontón and illustrated by Mabel Piérola—is based on the true story of how a herd of elephants at Benidorm’s wildlife park, Terra Natura, learned to accept and love Petita.

According to this El Mundo report (in Spanish) Pontón used Petita’s experience to tackle the issue of bullying.

The story of Petita began in 2006 when she experienced rejection by both male and female elephants at Terra Natura because she did not rise to their standards of beauty.

Weighting in at a skinny 2,900 kilos and having excessively long legs, Petita spent a lot of time alone and isolated, and on occasions she even had to run to avoid being attacked by others in the herd.

But one female, Kaiso, weighing almost 4,000 kilos, took pity on Petita and helped integrate her into the herd. This resulted in Petita gaining a lot of weight, and she learned how to assert herself. Petita and Kaiso are now inseparable.

Kaiso, left, and Petita. Image via YouTube/Terra Natura.

As soon as she read about Petita, Pontón knew that she had to write a story about this “so vulnerable and special” elephant.

The poor thing had to pay a very high price for being different. The story could be a clear model of bullying, and as such it would be very useful to reflect on bullying.

Petita’s birthday 50th birthday promises a joyful experience

In announcing Petita’s Big Five-O, Terra Natura said that it would be holding a very special Holi party, similar to the ones held in the past for her August birthdays.

A Holi party held for Petita before the Covid lockdown. Image via YouTube/Terra Natura.

But this time round it will be even bigger, better and more colorful because you only turn 50 once, right? (The average lifespan of elephants in the wild is 56.)

Terra Natura added:

This celebration is the only one of its kind in the world to be organised to celebrate the birthday of an Asian elephant.

The Holi festival will start at 11 am. Staff will put the typical bindi (also called tilak) on visitors’ foreheads. This red dot is placed on the forehead of both men and women at the level of the sixth chakra, which symbolises wisdom. The bindi is considered a symbol of protective energy in Hindu culture.

The festival will continue with a parade of musicians and dancers dressed in saris—traditional Indian dress—where they will offer Petita and Kaiso a special offering of fruit and vegetables.

A “battle of colours”, involving multi-hued powers thrown in the air, will be a feature of the celebration, which will also include Bollywood songs and choreography performed by dancers dressed in original Indian costumes.

Tickets for the event can be bought directly from Terra Natura via this link.

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