Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Photo by Rick Stevens
Asian Elephant Jai Dee is still learning to use his trunk
  • Jai Dee, Taronga’s male baby Asian Elephant born May 2017 is still learning to use his trunk;
  • Rare baby François’ Langur, one of the rarest monkeys worldwide, born with distinctive orange hair May 2017 that will change to black over the next two months;
  • Kamina, rare and endangered female baby Pygmy Hippopotamus born March 2017 loves learning to swim, with only 3,000 remaining in the wild; and
  • Maiya, a female Red Panda cub born November 2016 is one of 10,000 Red Pandas worldwide.

 

Asian Elephant calf Jai Dee is just one of four adorable yet endangered baby animals visitors can see at Taronga Zoo during the school holidays this winter.

Jai Dee, whose name means ‘good heart’, was born last month and has already put on a healthy 45 kilograms, and is fast becoming a popular ambassador for his wild counterparts, of which there are estimated to be only 35,000 left.

“Jai Dee certainly has a strong heart, and is growing exponentially; since his birth four weeks ago, he’s reached a weight of 175 kilograms by drinking 12 litres of his mother’s milk each day. Although he’s trying to figure out how his trunk works, he’s a little more stable standing on his own legs, with big sister Tukta keeping close watch over him with mother Pak Boon,” said Senior Keeper of Elephants Lucy Melo.

“For the time being, Jai Dee can be seen from the lower paddock with his mother and sister, and we look forward to when they feel comfortable as a family and herd to let Jai Dee start exploring the top paddock,” said Senior Keeper Lucy.

Jai Dee can be seen at different times throughout the day, exploring the lower paddock, playing with his mother Pak Boon, sister Tukta, and aunt Tang Mo. He joins a bright orange Francois Langur baby born earlier this month, Pygmy Hippo calf Kamina, and Red Panda cub Maiya.

The male François’ Langur, one of the world’s rarest monkeys, was born with characteristic, yet distinctive bright orange hair, which will soon turn black to match his parents. He will also soon have a name that reflects his South East Asian heritage.

“He is a stunning orange colour at the moment, but we’re already starting to see his hair growing dark on his face and his colour all over will significantly change at around three months,” said Senior Primate Keeper Jane Marshall.

“At three weeks old he’s already starting to explore his environment by picking up leaves and is starting to grab at mum’s food.”

Taronga’s rare Pygmy Hippo calf, named Kamina, continues to thrive, having reached 37kgs and growing steadily under the watchful eye of her parents and keepers. At three months old, the calf is still relying on her mother’s milk but now starting to eat hay and other greens, while becoming a confident swimmer.

“Initially, we filled the pond only to 40cm deep to help Kamina develop confidence swimming, and as her confidence has increased so has the pond. She is absolutely enjoying every moment – which means the best chance to see her is before the end of lunch. Her enthusiasm for swimming leaves her absolutely exhausted, so she falls fast asleep from about 2pm,” said Senior Keeper, Gabe Virgona.

Taronga Zoo is open every day of the winter holidays to visit Jai Dee, Maiya, Kamina and the baby François Langur.

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