Our elephant calf has experienced a lot of firsts in past week, including his first bath. The calf seems to really enjoy the water, getting under the hose as much as possible and playing. Bath time has been a very positive time for him which will help in the future when he starts having his own bath on a daily basis.
All of the elephants get a bath every day at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. It’s a very important time for keepers and elephants to build a strong relationship with each other. It also gives keepers the opportunity to get a closer look at the elephants, inspecting every part of the body to ensure they are in good health.
Thong Dee's calf will start to learn this bath routine as he gets older but the first stage will be for him to get to know the keepers and start building a rapport with us.
We have been keeping Thong Dee’s daily routine as close as possible to before the calf was born. She will get distracted from time to time if the calf wanders off or makes a sound, but with the strong relationship we have with her, and also with the help of the calf's aunty, Porntip, she trusts that he is alright while she completes her daily routine.
It has been great watching the calf enjoying bath time and we are all very excited to start working with the calf and see him grow and develop.
By Elephant Keeper, Josie Montgomery.