Taronga Zoo Welcomes Adorable Elephant Calf
A male elephant calf was born at Taronga Zoo late last month, after a 22-month pregnancy. The baby elephant’s mother, Pak Boon, had a short labor with no complications. The calf was also standing within five minutes of being born, and suckling a couple hours later.
“This is fantastic news for the Australian breeding program for Asian Elephants, as every birth helps secure a future for this endangered species, I’m delighted to report that mother and calf are in good health, weighing 130 kg, and Taronga’s veterinarians are pleased with the calf process at this early stage,” said Cameron Kerr, Taronga CEO and Chair of the Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Elephant Committee.
This marks Taronga’s fifth elephant birth since the founding of their elephant breeding program ten years prior. There are currently 30-000-50,000 Asian Elephants in the wild. Unfortunately, these numbers are decreasing due to the loss of habitats and poachers.
“A really important part of this birth is it adds to the population of this region,” Kerr said. “Until today, we had 24 elephants in the region. Every birth is important and contributes to our genetic pool and it contributes to the structure of the herds across the zoos in Australia and in New Zealand.”
Two weeks later, the elephant calf has become a favorite amongst his keepers. “He is getting very brave,” senior elephant keeper Mick Harrison said. “At first he was just sticking by mum’s side but now he is venturing out and exploring his surroundings on his own. Every day we hose down the elephants and he really loves it so now we have got him his own paddling pool.”
Harrison added that he’s also recently started using his trunk to suck up water.
The baby calf will be officially named at a ceremony within the next few weeks, after Thai authorities approve of his name. Harrison believes “it will be something that fits his character.”
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