Endangered elephants pumpkin up the volume at US zoo

The Asian elephant family enjoyed obliterating the giant pumpkins at the annual Squishing of the Squash event.

Highly endangered Asian elephants at a US zoo relished the chance to crush giant pumpkins at an annual Squishing of the Squash ceremony.

The tradition at Oregon zoo dates back to 1999. It precedes the zoo’s Halloween celebrations, where children are invited to come in costume and learn about the animals.

The zoo is unable to hold a public event this year due to the pandemic, but this didn’t stop the elephants from demolishing 600-pound pumpkins provided by the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Club.

Elephants pulverize giant pumpkins at the Oregon Zoo’s annual Squishing of the Squash. (Oregon Zoo/photo by Shervin Hess)

“Everything looks a little different for us this year, but the elephants didn’t seem to mind,” senior keeper Dimas Dominguez said.

“They got one 650-pound pumpkin and a couple more pretty big ones to play with. First they destroy them, then they enjoy them.”

The event was introduced when Hoffman’s Dairy Garden of Canby gave the zoo an 828-pound pumpkin for the pachyderms to pulverize.

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