Australia's first elephant calf born to the Asian Elephant Conservation Breeding Program turned two years old today!
To mark the special occasion the young calf and the rest of his herd received elephant-sized ice blocks filled with peanuts. Their keepers also put boxes out in the paddock which the elephants quickly tore open to reveal their favourite food - sugar cane, hay and pineapple!
Luk Chai was born in the early hours of July 4th 2009, to first-time mother Thong Dee who was originally a street elephant in Bangkok, before coming to Australia with the help of the Thai and Australian Governments.
Taronga Elephant Manager Gary said that two years of age is a milestone for baby elephants as once they’ve made it past this age, they’re pretty much on their way to becoming a juvenile.
He was born at 96 kilos and he’s now a whopping 830 kilograms! He’s grown like a little weed according to his keepers.
Gary said that Luk Chai is known by the keepers as being the golden boy and he can pretty much do no wrong. Everybody loves him and all the female elephants think he’s great. The only one who actually chastises him at all is his own mum, and that’s usually over food. He wants to eat her food, and Thong Dee tells him “Hey, eat your own!”, but other than that, he just gets on well with everyone.
Luk Chai was the first of three elephant calves to be born at Taronga Zoo since the herd arrived in 2006. Miracle calf Pathi Harn is now over a year old, weighing in at 620 kilograms, and female calf Tukta, who is just over six months old, is 436 kilograms.
Gary says that Luk Chai loves the other two calves dearly. He’ll lie down and lets them climb on him. Luk Chai is teaching the other two calves how to play and swim and is a real mentor to the little ones.
Luk Chai, his mother Thong Dee, and Aunty Tang Mo, go over to visit Gung, and father and son get along very well together.