Taronga’s newborn female Asian Elephant calf was
officially named ‘Tukta’ today, a Thai name meaning ‘doll’.
Pronounced ‘took-tuh’, the name was chosen by the
Zoo’s Elephant Keepers and formally announced to the public by Taronga Zoo’s Life
Sciences Manager, Simon Duffy.
“For the last few days our elephant team have been
debating over a name. We wanted a name that was of Thai origin to reflect the
heritage of our elephants and help educate our visitors about the home range of
this magnificent species,” said Simon.
Taronga's female elephant calf explores the paddock while mum enjoys a pineapple top.“On a more practical level the keepers were searching
for a name that didn’t sound similar to any of the other elephants so we didn’t
cause confusion amongst the herd.”
“Like our other two calves the keepers also wanted to
choose a name that reflected something unique about this new arrival or her
personality or unique characteristics.”
“We all know how hard it is for parents to agree on
the name of a newborn child, so as you can imagine when 10 elephant keepers are
trying to choose a name it’s no easy task, however they have done a great job,”
“I may be a little biased but she’s an absolutely
beautiful elephant and a doll-like version of her mother. Unlike the male calves
she is lighter with a pink coloration to her skin and you only have to stand in
front of the elephant exhibit for a few moments to hear our visitors
proclaiming how lovely she is.”
Taronga’s other elephant calves also have Thai names.
Australia’s first elephant calf, ‘Luk Chai’s’ name means ‘son’ in Thai whilst
Pathi Harn who was born in March this year after a difficult birth means
Tukta’s birth at 1:12am on 2 November came exactly
four years to the day that her mother ‘Pak Boon’ and herd-mates arrived from
Thailand to start the first Australian Conservation Breeding Program for Asian
“In just four short years, together with Melbourne
Zoo, we have welcomed five elephant calves into the world. We’ve increased our
regional herd by 50% which is a remarkable achievement and reflective of the
dedication and expertise of our keepers and veterinary staff,” said Simon.
“Importantly, the community has embraced the
Australian herd. Taronga is the only place in the country where people will be
able to see three elephant calves living together and learning from each other,
just as they would in the wild.”
“It is a very heart warming sight to watch the
youngsters explore and get to know one another, gently touching trunks and
ambling throughout the exhibit all under the watchful eyes of their protective
mothers and aunties,” said Simon.
Tukta can be seen exploring the paddock with the older
calves, ‘Luk Chai’ and ‘Pathi Harn’ along with her mother, Pak Boon and the
rest of Taronga’s herd every day until about 3:30pm. An Elephant Keeper Talk is
hosted daily at 1:00pm.