Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford is trending on TikTok thanks to a 58-year-old elephant, a podcaster and a drum.

Emily the Asian Elephant seems to have a knack for drumming, and her solo performance during an enrichment session has amassed over 8 million views.

Emily the Elephant

Emily is one of two elephants at Buttonwood Park Zoo. She has been there since 1968, and at 58 years old, she is certainly in her golden years.

“The typical life expectancy of an elephant is the mid-40s, so (Emily) is geriatric,” joked Shara Rapoza, assistant director of the zoo.

The Animal Enrichment Program at BPZoo

Emily’s moment on the drums was part of an animal enrichment program that BPZoo lovingly offers every animal in its care.

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“The goal is to enrich the life of every animal,” Rapoza said. “We’re trying to enhance their quality of life, stimulate them, and keep them mentally and physically active with a creative outlet.”

The enrichment opportunities allow the animals to demonstrate natural behaviors that they would do in the wild and provide animals with choices on how to spend their time.

Elephants are highly intelligent and vocal learners with a natural talent for recognizing and replicating sounds, so when Emily met podcaster Jon Rossi, it was a perfect friendship.

Jon Rossi and the Rossifari Podcast

Philadelphia native, Jon Rossi, hosts the Rossifari Podcast and shares the stories of amazing animals and the incredible people that work with them. When he heard about Emily, he grabbed his drum and beelined it to her sanctuary.

“My two favorite things are drumming and animals,” he said. “The ability to connect with an elephant through drumming was one of the most amazing feelings in my life. The connection was so strong.”

These enrichment sessions are often during business hours, giving guests a chance to see the animals in action. Thanks to this viral video, we can all enjoy the mindblowing moment when Emily lays down a beat with Rossi.

@rossifaripod Unique forms of enrichment are so important for zoo animals! Check out today’s episode of The Rossifari Podcast to learn more about this experience and the ways it made me, Emily, and the other humans and elephant at Buttonwood Park Zoo so happy! #fyp#elephant#elephants#elephantlover#zoo#zoos#drumming#drummer#zoosoftiktok#zoos#wildlifephotography#zoo#zoos#zoopics#zoophotography#animal#animals#animalphotography#animalpics#zooanimal#zooanimals#animalphotographers#animalsofinstagram#animallover#animallovers#savewhatyoulove♬ original sound - The Rossifari Podcast

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