Posted on 11th June 2020 by Media Relations
Our youngest calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is Kanlaya she is two on 14 June 2020. Kanlaya was the second calf born here in Dubbo and our first female calf. A lot of planning and preparation goes in to any birth and Kanlaya’s was no exception.
Back track to September 2016, we were training Porntip for Artificial Insemination (AI) and taking regular blood samples from her to track her progesterone levels. By measuring her progesterone levels, we can actually determine the exact day that she will ovulate and time the AI for that day. This requires a lot of planning and preparation, particularly because Kanlaya’s dad does not live in Dubbo, he lives at Perth Zoo in Western Australia. So we organised all the logistics and then a team of specialist elephant reproductive vets flew to Perth to be ready. We took blood on the morning of the 7 September 2016 and the results confirmed ovulation. The team in Perth collected the semen sample straight away and then flew to Dubbo, via Sydney and arrived early that evening. We did the artificial insemination at 8.30pm and the vets were fairly confident because the semen sample was great, 90% motility, and they could see on ultrasound that Porntip had just ovulated. We did a second artificial insemination procedure the following morning to be sure.
We then had to wait approximately three months (the length of an elephant cycle) before we could confirm that Porntip was pregnant and it was at this point we found out it was a success! And then we started the long 22 months wait until our little calf would arrive.
Kanlaya was born on the 14 June 2018 at 3.07am after a short and easy labour. Her name means ‘beautiful lady’. She is a very confident, playful and energetic calf. Kanlaya spends her the day with the herd and often leads the way out on to exhibit. She loves receiving attention and her training is coming along nicely.
Her Mum is Porntip and is 28 years old. She has a laid back and easy going personality and is very maternal. Porntip is a great mother and aunty to the other calves in the herd.
Kanlaya’s dad Putra Mas lives at Perth Zoo with two other female elephants. Kanlaya is the first calf he has sired. Putra Mas is exceptionally smart and seeks out attention from keepers to do activities, vocalizing to call them over. Keepers at Perth Zoo say he is a perfectionist and learns new behaviours quickly. Putra Mas is a big burley boy, is destructive and loves to play with his toys. If he can break it, he will.
As Kanlaya grwos and develops it is nice to see her personality coming out and the different traits she gets from her parents. It is a real pleasure to watch her grow and develop.
By Elephant keeper, Bec O’Riordan