Tamar the elephant hands President Peres a 90th birthday present - the key to Noah's Ark

Tamar the elephant hands President Peres a 90th birthday present – the key to Noah’s Ark

An elephant at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo became the latest well-wisher to present  Shimon Peres with a 90th birthday gift, writes Debra Green.

Israel’s President visited the zoo to mark its 20th anniversary with his granddaughters on Tuesday, where Tamar Polkthe elephant volunteered his trunk to place a small package in the President’s hand containing the key to Noah’s Ark.

Peres meets some of the zoo's exotic residents

Peres meets some of the zoo’s exotic residents

The President was accompanied by the zoo’s own Youth Movement organisation that promotes interracial co-operation between Jews and Arabs who work together volunteering at the zoo and help to save endangered species.  In a speech to the youth group and the wider community, Peres linked the zoo to a message of reconciliation, saying, “The zoo symbolises the Bible along with the values of peace and co-existence”.

Enjoying the day out with his grand daughters, Peres had a great message for children, telling them: “To leave their homes, Facebooks and smartphones” alone during the summer holidays, in favour of coming outside to the zoo and experiencing what nature has to offer them.

The family and children present enjoyed the opportunities to feed the elephants and exotic parrots and other remarkable birds that are home to the zoo.