26 September 2023

Taronga Zoo celebrates elephant’s birthday

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Kanlaya the Elephant. Photo: Keepers Savannah and Christina

The Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo set aside a very special day last week as the Asian Elephant herd stopped working to mark Kanlaya’s 5th birthday.

Born in the early hours of the morning on 14 June 2018 to mother Porntip and father Putra Mas, Kanlaya is currently the youngest elephant in the Dubbo herd and she’s busy learning natural social behaviours from the other elephants.

According to her keeper, Savannah, it takes a lot of patience working with calves to build your relationship with them, “But it is so rewarding when you reach certain milestones in their training and conditioning.”

“A great way to find out more about the Asian Elephants here at the Zoo and the plight of this endangered species in the wild is to head along to the daily Keeper Talk at 12pm,” Savannah said.

Kanlaya’s mother, Porntip has delivered two calves to the zoo’s regional conservation breeding program.

Porntip came to Taronga Zoo Sydney in 2006 from a sanctuary in Thailand before moving to Dubbo with her first calf, Pathi Harn, in 2015.

Kanlaya is very special to the Elephant Keeping team as she is the first female elephant calf born at the zoo and was conceived through artificial insemination.

“She is Porntip and Putra Mas’s only female calf and, in the future will be an integral part of the next generation of elephants to breed in the Australasian region,” the team said.

“She can be quite wary of new keepers to start with, and it takes time to build a relationship with her,” they said.

They said Kanlaya enjoyed her food, which was key to her training and it had been interesting to watch and learn as her favourite foods had changed over the years.

“Kanlaya comes to life when she is around the bull elephants,” the team said.

“Keepers refer to her as a shadow when she is with the bulls, as she will follow them around all day when spending time together in the paddock,” they said.

“It has been a career highlight to be a part of Kanlaya’s journey since the beginning,” the Elephant Keeping team said.

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