Taronga’s new elephant calf began to explore the elephant exhibit today with his mother, Porntip, just days after surviving a difficult birth.
Elephant Manager, Gary Miller, said: "The calf’s is much more lively and starting to develop a personality."
"He’s excited to be alive."
Mr Miller said the calf was continuing to get stronger all the time so he and his mother were now ready to go out of the barn where he's been cared for since his remarkable birth at in the early hours last Wednesday morning.
Today Zoo visitors may be lucky enough to catch glimpses of him in the lower paddock of the elephant exhibit in Wild Asia, as he is only expected to spend brief periods out of the barn.
Mr Miller said: "The calf is finding out what life looks like. He gets excited about stuff. He’s getting perky as he starts seeing things around him."
He said the calf’s mother, Porntip, was given access to the exhibit’s lower paddock with Aunt, Pak Boon, for company. This was quite normal as young calves in the wild move with the herd from soon after birth.
The calf is continuing to suckle well from his mother and has maintained his birth weight of 116 kg, which is encouraging given his tough start to live after a protracted labour.
World elephant reproduction expert, Dr Thomas Hildebrandt of the Berlin Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Health, said last week the calf’s birth and survival had re-written the text books for elephant birth.
The Zoo wants the public to vote on one of seven possible names. They are: Pathi Harn, which means "miracle''; Tay Wan, "boy in heaven''; Ming Khwan, "good internal strength, good attitude''; Nam Chok, "brings with him good fortune''; Mongkon, "auspicious''; Boon Thung, "merit has led to reaching this life''; and Chok Dee "very good luck''.
People can vote for their favourite name go to www.taronga.org.au, describing in 25 words or less why they have selected that name. Zookeepers will choose the name and 45 winners will be selected.
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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