Austrian minister thanks elephant that aided virus guidance

Austria’s economy minister has become the symbolic godmother of a young elephant in a nod of thanks after the government used a cartoon of the large mammal as a reference to help people put pandemic distancing recommendations into perspective

VIENNA -- Austria’s economy minister has become the symbolic godmother of a young elephant, in a nod of thanks after the government used a cartoon of the large mammal as a reference to help people put pandemic distancing recommendations into perspective.

Margarete Schramboeck was named godmother to Kibali the elephant in a ceremony at Vienna’s Schoenbrunn Zoo on Monday. In order to help Austrians envision keeping the recommended one-meter (3.28 feet) apart, Schramboeck said authorities had spread the message it was “the length of a baby elephant.”

A government video had showed a cartoon of a baby elephant to drive the point home.

Schramboeck said “most people, and certainly myself, thought of Kibali.”

He says: “maybe from now on we can say you have to keep as much distance as two Kibali trunks.”

Schramboeck was given a watercolor of the elephant, and Kibali was given a cake of hay, fruit and vegetables to celebrate the occasion.

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