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Jul 6, 2009

In this July 4, 2009 image released by Taronga Zoo a newly born baby elephant is pictured with his mother.

(A few days later)
... an unsteady start to exploring the outside world yesterday as Sydney's elephant calf took his first wobbly stroll in the winter sunshine. Sticking close to mum Thong Dee, the calf seemed to spend as much time walking backwards as he did forwards as he wandered down to the sheltered lower paddock of Taronga Zoo's Asian elephant exhibit.
It was a case of second time lucky for nervous zoo staff, who had tried unsuccessfully to entice the pair out of the barn the previous day. With a sprinkling of sawdust on his back, the yet-to-be-named calf gently raised his tiny trunk to suckle. He is expected to suckle for up to three years, consuming up to 12 litres of milk each day.
Showing how closely he has already bonded with the older elephants and carers, he sniffed around his aunt Tang Mo's feet before nuzzling the crotch of an amused keeper. The curious baby tried to duck out of the way of a swinging hay bale Tang Mo was eating, but it bounced back and hit him in the face. Twice.
Zoo director Guy Cooper, wearing a red tie with tiny elephants on it, was tickled pink. "To bring him out with his mother looking relaxed and Tang Mo in support was exceptional," he said.
It was a day of firsts. The male calf was weighed for the first time and found to be a healthy 96kg. He also had his first shower and was introduced to the older females - Porntip and Pak Boon.
Competition: Name Sydney's baby elephant 
There have been more than 2000 entries via the zoo's website to give the calf a name in keeping with his Thai heritage.
Gallery: Taronga's elephants

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Posted: Jul 6, 2009 8:12am


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Jenny Dooley
, 3, 2 children
Eastlakes, SW, Australia
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