Elephant and tiger show at the State Fair

Elephant and tiger show at the State Fair

By Andrea Johnson
POSTED: July 25, 2010

This elephant got game.

A middle-aged female Asian elephant wowed a crowd at the North Dakota State Fair Saturday by using her trunk to sink a basketball through a hoop. Earlier, she played the harmonica with her trunk

The two female Asian elephants, ages 39 and 40 respectively, are part of the Elephant and Tiger Encounter at the State Fair. The elephant show is held at 2:30 and 6:30 p.m., while a separate show with five Bengal tigers is held at 4:30 p.m. during the fair. People can ride elephants after the show for $1.

Linda Frisco and her husband Terry run the show. They are based in Peoria, Ill., said Linda Frisco.

Linda Frisco said the elephants are long-lived and can live more than 65 years. They go through six sets of teeth in a lifetime. After they’ve worn down one set, another set of teeth come in. The final set of four teeth come in when an elephant is about 60 years old.

The Asian elephants are different from African elephants in several ways. Asian elephants have smaller ears than African elephants; Asian elephants have five toenails compared with an African elephant’s four toenails and an Asian elephant has one point on its tongue compared with two points on an African elephant. Asian elephants can take in up to three to four gallons of water through their trunks.

The elephants received treats throughout the show for doing a good job.

The tigers slept during the elephant show.

Frisco said her husband was the son of a zoo director and grew up with the animals. They work with their tigers every day. Frisco said the trainers build on what already comes naturally to a tiger and don’t make them do anything they don’t want to do.

The tigers actually enjoy water like the rain that came down Friday, said Frisco. They cut short part of the act to avoid having the animals slip and fall on their pedestals, though. Frisco said there is also a tiger cub along that they will bring out during some of the acts if the weather is nice.

Frisco said there is plenty for people to see and she hopes people will visit the act during the fair.

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