Big baby news for Melbourne Zoo

Big baby news for Melbourne Zoo
Katie Johnson

The pitter-patter of not so small feet will be heard at Melbourne Zoo next year with three of the zoo’s endangered Asian elephants pregnant.

The births are expected to occur at Melbourne Zoo late next year as elephant pregnancies last 22 months.

Melbourne Zoo Trail of the Elephants life sciences manager Erin Gardiner said the Zoo was looking forward to the baby elephants socialising together.

“Having three elephant calves growing up together is ideal for their social development, as a closely bonded herd is so important for elephants’ welfare,” Ms Gardiner said.

“This will further strengthen the already wonderful bonds within our elephant herd.”

Melbourne Zoo is part of the regional breeding program for Asian Elephants, which are classified as endangered in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

In a first for the Zoo, all three calves were conceived naturally courtesy of adult breeding bull Luk Chai − the first elephant born at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo 12 years ago − who arrived at Melbourne Zoo last December.

One of the pregnant females is Mali − the first elephant ever born at Melbourne Zoo 11 years ago.

She will share her pregnancy journey with her own mum Dokkoon, 28, and Num-Oi, 20.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the pregnancies would be a joy for locals to watch.

“It’s going to be a busy time for Melbourne Zoo’s elephant keepers and veterinary team as they care for three pregnant elephants,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“It will be so exciting for all Victorians to watch this Asian Elephant herd raise three precious babies together at the Werribee Open Range Zoo’s new state-of-the-art home in 2024.” •

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