Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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Photo: Rick Stevens
Female Asian Elephant calf on exhibit

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s newborn Asian Elephant calf will make her media debut today alongside mother Porntip, aunty Thong Dee and older calf Sabai.

The female calf born on Thursday 14 June 2018 is now one week old. Zoo Keepers are thrilled with the little one’s progress behind the scenes.

“The calf is so cute but she is also very strong,” said Elephant Keeper Joel Kerr. “She’s been very active since her birth. She moves around a lot during the day, and at night time in the barn she lays down and rests.”

“The calf stays right underneath her mum when moving around the paddock and into new areas, which is very natural. Porntip is being a wonderful mother. She is very attentive and patient and has bonded very well with her calf.”

Mother and calf recently had their first bath together, which will form part of their daily routine. Fellow herd members Thong Dee and her 18 month old calf Sabai have welcomed the calf into the family unit.

“Thong Dee was very good support for Porntip during the birth, staying near her but also letting Porntip have some space from time to time. She is now being a good aunty to the calf. For Sabai, this is a whole new experience for him. He was a little overzealous at first, but he is quickly learning the right behaviours around the new arrival.”

From today, the calf will be on exhibit with the rest of the herd from 10am-2pm daily, weather depending.

Zoo Director Steve Hinks said: “All our staff and volunteers are absolutely thrilled by the birth of this little girl. We are all looking forward to watching her grow and develop over the coming months.”

“The calf, along with the other Asian Elephants here in Dubbo, play a vital role as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. They help educate visitors about the decline of wild populations due to habitat destruction and human-animal conflict, and what Taronga is doing to help,” said Mr Hinks.

Taronga has a successful breeding program for the Asian Elephant at both Sydney and Dubbo zoos, and is active in the field working with governments and conservation agencies in Asia to help stop the decline of Asian Elephants in the wild. Taronga also supports wildlife protection units and ranger stations in Thailand and Sumatra to help prevent elephant poaching.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to nine Asian Elephants following the arrival of bull Gung in early 2018 and now Porntip’s calf this month.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is calling for name suggestions for the new elephant calf. Suggestions can be entered online at www.taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo/namedubboelephantcalf with Zoo Keepers to choose the most suitable name. Entries close 5pm on 5 July 2018.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Central Western NSW and is open every day from 9am – 4pm. For more information visit zoofari.com.au or call 6881 1400.

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