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There was a feeling of anticipation at Taronga Zoo’s elephant exhibit today as the keepers prepared special treats for the elephants to celebrate the first birthday of Luk Chai – the first elephant calf born in Australia.

Despite thousands of waiting well wishers and a great Thai theme throughout Taronga’s ANZ Rainforest Trail, birthday calf Luk Chai was busy going about his usual business as if there were no fuss until he started to get a little excited during the 1pm elephant.

While NSW Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Ms Angela D’Amore, spoke about the success of the elephant conservation breeding program at Taronga thousands of zoo visitors and the Thai Consul General could hear the female elephants trumpeting as they watched their keepers positioning special elephant birthday treats.

After the elephants walked int the paddock,  Luk Chai was a little reluctant to approach his banana frond-covered box of treats filled with apples, bananas, palm fronds and pumpkin but it didn’t take long for his mother, Thong Dee and aunts to pull it all apart to reveal the contents which were much to Luk Chai’s liking.

The herd were happy to eat the treats, while provided younger calf Pathi Harn was struggling to pick up a single apple that continued to roll away from him. He found much more fun getting his feet caught in the remnants of cardboard boxes and straw that were scattered around the paddock.

Luk chai was curious of a giant blue ball that was in one of the boxes,  just like his favourite soccer ball. He scrambled over it and pushed it around before going back to what seemed the better option of tasty apples and pumpkin before the older females ate it all.

Photo album at:

- Zoo Communications

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