Beloved elephant Raja celebrates 25th birthday indoors

ST. LOUIS – There was a big birthday bash at the Saint Louis Zoo as Raja the elephant celebrated his 25th birthday.

However, the elephant of the hour didn't make an appearance at his own birthday party.
Zoo officials said Raja spent the day indoors with the other elephants in a climate-controlled barn.

Katie Pilgram-Kloppe, a zoological Manager at Saint Louis Zoo, said Raja received plenty of cool treats Wednesday with the zookeepers. Born weighing 275 pounds, the Asian elephant has grown to over 10,000 pounds thanks to a big, hearty appetite.

“Despite the cold temps we are want to make sure the animals are safe, staying in their climate-control area,” Plgram-Kloppe said.

Visitors still braved the cold to stop by the Lakeside Cafe at the zoo to sing "Happy Birthday" to Raja as they signed a super-sized card for the elephant.

“It really warms our hearts that so many people came out to brave the weather just to come out celebrate,” said Pilgram-Kloppe.

Raja's birthday was honored with proclamations from Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.