Posted on 30th April 2019 by Media Relations
Asian Elephant calf Kanlaya is now 10 months of age and fast approaching her first birthday on 14 June 2019. As she has grown and developed over the past few months we have seen Kanlaya spend more time with two year old calf, Sabai. The two are confident together, playing on their own away from their mothers, Porntip and Thong Dee. They are often observed playing in the pool, dust bathing and sometimes having a nap on the dirt mounds. Sabai loves to lay on his side and let Kanlaya freely climb over him, which is great to see that they both have a playful nature towards each other. Porntip is quite the protective mother but has been more relaxed in letting Kanlaya adventure on her own.
Kanlaya now has an interest in solid foods especially apple pieces! She also loves sharing whatever her mother Porntip is eating and joins her to snack on hay and leaves from branches. Kanlaya is progressing with her training now that she is a little more food motivated. She can now hold her trunk up well, this is a great basic behaviour for calves to learn so we can check their temperatures daily and monitor their health. Kanlaya is also beginning to learn to lean her side towards Keepers along a fence which is also part of her training. This is done through positive training methods where Kanlaya is rewarded with her favourite food treats for doing certain behaviours asked of her.
Keepers are also working towards having Kanlaya participate in a bath routine, which is undertaken daily with all the elephants. Bath routines are a great tool for keepers to build relationships with the elephants and to assess their overall health and wellbeing on a daily basis.
The elephant keepers are excited to celebrate Kanlaya’s first birthday here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on 14 June and look forward to seeing what the next year brings for her.
By Elephant Keeper Christina Nicolas