'Doll' joins Taronga's Elephant herd

'Doll' joins Taronga's Elephant herd

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,”

said Simon.

“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.