Taronga's new male elephant was weighed this morning tipping the scales at 96 kilos.
The Keepers and the Veterinary team had guessed that the calf weighed 100 kilos and they were right on the mark. The calf's mother, Thong Dee, showed the calf how it was done, stepping onto a slightly raised platform which measures the load with two weighing bars.
The Zoo's Director, Guy Cooper, said: "The keepers are very pleased with the calf's weight. Elephant calves are typically between 80 and 120 kilos so he certainly is a healthy weight, "
"Thong Dee is quite use to be being weighed and our Elephant Manager, Gary Miller said Thong Dee went first and the calf followed her onto the scales. Whilst the keepers were weighing him Thong Dee stood right next to the platform to watch."
This morning the keepers also introduced the calf to the older females Porntip and Pak Boon for the first time. Previously the two cows could touch and smell the calf from the adjacent stall, but today they went into Thong Dee's nursing area to meet the calf.
"The introductions went really well. The matriarch of the herd Porntip was a little nervous, but very curious, as the calf walked up to check her out. The calf then met Pak Boon, another aunty, who was more confident about saying hello, but she too didn't quite know what to make of the new calf."
"Pak Boon at first wasn't quite sure what to do, but then she stuck out her trunk to gently pat him all over his body."
Tang Mo was introduced to the calf yesterday and with the introduction progressing so well Thong Dee and Tang Mo this afternoon will be given the opportunity to take the youngster for a walk in the quiet, sheltered lower paddock of the exhibit.
Thong Dee and her calf are unlikely to be visible in the exhibit for some days yet while the post-birth process of bonding with the other females continues and the calf gets stronger.
Zoo Keepers are providing regular blog updates on the calf's progress at the Zoo's website www.taronga.org.au/littlethings.
STOP PRESS: The calf has just enjoyed his first bath with mum in the elephant barn. Thong Dee and the calf shared a warm wash down by Elephant Manager, Gary Miller.
Elephant Fact Sheet
The mother, Thong Dee (Golden) used to be a street elephant in Bangkok. When Taronga keepers first met her, she was very focused on food and did not socialise much with the rest of group. Now that she knows there will always be enough food, she's emerged as a calm, well- balanced elephant. Thong Dee has become the mother of first elephant calf born in Australasia, born on July 4, at about 3 am.
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