Posted on 15th June 2021 by Media Relations
On Monday 14 June, Asian Elephant calf Kanlaya at Taronga Western Plains Zoo celebrated her third birthday with a special enrichment feed.
Kanlaya has really blossomed over the past three years. In the beginning she was quite shy but now she is an engaged learner who is keen to interact with her keepers and is a very social and playful calf.
Kanlaya is always busy and enjoys playing with four-year-old Sabai. They can be found out in the paddock running around together, fishing for apples in the pool or rolling in the mud.
“We often see Kanlaya alongside her aunty Thong Dee having a swim in the pool when it is raining which is also very special,” said Elephant Keeper Jackie Cantrell.
Over the past 12 months Kanlaya has become more and more independent and playful. Guests to the Zoo would regularly see her on the other side of the paddock to her mum or aunty and she’ll be climbing or rubbing on logs, chasing birds or following Pathi Harn or Sabai around.
There is so much development that happens for an elephant calf in the first few years of life. Some of these major milestones that Kanlaya has developed include learning to use her truck proficiently, being interested in the food mum is eating and beginning to consume solid food herself, slowly reducing milk intake from mum and learning how to behave around other elephants
“One interesting aspect about Kanlaya’s growth and development is her weight gain. In the three years she has gained approximately 1100kgs, compared to Gung our adult bull elephant who has only put on 400kgs in the past three years,” said Jackie.
Seeing Kanlaya be born and watching her grow over the past three years has been a very rewarding experience for many of the keepers.
“Being present to witness the birth of an elephant calf is pretty amazing and an opportunity very few people get to be a part of but it is even more special to be able to foster a relationship with Kanlaya and see her grow and develop.”
“Hopefully I will be present to see her eventually come full circle from calf to a mother of her own calf one day in the future, this would be an incredibly momentous occasion in my life as well as hers,” said Jackie.