Securing a shared future for wildlife and people

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I'm one of ten keepers that look after our five Asian Elephants at Taronga Zoo. We have four females and one bull elephant which we care for. Three of the females are pregnant, with one of the girls, Thong Dee, expecting any time now. Elephants have the longest gestation period of all mammals (22 months) so it's been a long time coming for Thong Dee and we're sure that she'll be relieved when it's over.

Thong Dee is one of the younger elephants in the herd and she's very endearing. She loves her food especially oaten hay and pineapple tops. Amongst the Keepers she's also known for a crafty habit of "trading up food". Once she's finished with the best parts of the pineapple tops, she then uses her trunk to present us with the second grade bits as an offering, but in return expecting a more tasty vegetable treat!

It's amazing to think that Thong Dee is carrying a 90-110 kg calf. Thong Dee is certainly showing and when she lies down for her warm bath each morning, she takes her time these days getting back up. She's carrying the calf low in her belly and that causes a huge bulge up top as all her internal organs are pushed upwards to create space for her growing baby.

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