KYOTO – Four young elephants donated last year by Laos went on public display at Kyoto City zoo on Saturday ahead of Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong’s visit to Japan from Wednesday.
The three female and one male Asian elephants, ages 3 to 7, were delivered to the zoo in November ahead of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Laos this year.
“The four have been waiting to see you all while craning their noses,” zookeeper Narito Akihisa told visitors before the appearance of the elephants.
The four elephants appeared in front of visitors while walking closely side by side, drawing a roar.
Kids who were invited from a nearby nursery school appeared impressed, saying, “They’re so cute!” and “They’re so big!”
A part of a new rearing facility for elephants was also opened to the public, allowing visitors to observe the animals through glass screens.
The Laotian prime minister is scheduled to meet with the Emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his four-day visit.