Keeper Johny updates us on the progress of our Asian Elephant Pak Boon who’s calf is due to be born any day now.
With Pak Boons due date fast approaching, the female elephant barn is abuzz with final preparations as the elephant team work tirelessly to ready the exhibit and facilities for the forthcoming birth.
Regular visitors to the zoo may have noticed some of the recent changes that have been made to the exhibit, such as the new pool fencing that has been installed to limit the calf’s access to deeper areas of the pool until it proves to be a confident swimmer.
Other less noticeable changes are occurring behind the scenes, including the baby proofing of the entire cow barn to ensure the calf doesn’t get into places it shouldn’t and the installation of new cameras so that the elephant team can monitor Pak Boon's progress when the time comes to give birth.
The elephant team are caring for Pak Boon and monitoring her behaviour as per normal. Regular blood draws, which are performed cooperatively, are how the staff are keeping track of Pak Boon's progesterone levels which will indicate when her body is ready to give birth.
Once her progesterone levels reach zero, the elephant team will begin monitoring Pak Boon 24 hours a day due to the fact that elephants typically give birth at night. When she eventually gives birth the elephant team will monitor her health that of the calf, with Taronga Zoo’s veterinary team on standby ready to assess the progress of the calf.
Pak Boon's first birth to Tukta was quick and uncomplicated so the elephant team are hoping for a similar scenario to play out with her current pregnancy. Until then, its business as normal for the elephants and their keepers with daily baths and play sessions taking place for zoo visitors to enjoy.
Taronga has had an Asian Elephant breeding program in place for more than 10 years thanks to the partnership with ANZ Australia who support our conservation efforts.
Find out more about the Elephants at Taronga Zoo Sydney.