Baby elephant walks out at Melbourne Zoo

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Melbourne Zoo is trumpeting its newest baby elephant, unveiling the calf to the public for the first time.

The Asian elephant calf, which is yet to be named, was on show on Wednesday for the first time since mother Dokkoon gave birth a week ago surrounded by other female members of the herd. 

Zoo staff have determined the calf is female, and gave it and mother Dokkoon space and quiet time to bond ahead of the calf's public unveiling. 

The calf is the first to be born at Melbourne Zoo through natural conception, with first-time father Luk Chai arriving from Taronga Western Plains Zoo at Dubbo in NSW in December 2020.

Zoos Victoria's 350,000 members will vote on a name for the new calf, with three options as suggested by the Royal Thai Embassy put to them.

The first is Aiyara, meaning elephant - a symbol for loyalty, friendliness, good fortune, and happiness.

The second is Chaiyo, meaning cheers - to celebrate joyful occasions - and the third is Roi-yim, meaning smile, and representing Thailand as the "Land of Smiles". 

Votes close for members on Tuesday evening and the winning name will be announced next week. 

Melbourne Zoo's Asian elephant herd is expecting another two calves early next year, with two other elephants nearing the end of their 22-month pregnancies. 

The simultaneous pregnancies mean the calves will be raised by the entire herd.

Asian elephants are endangered and Zoos Victoria is part of a regional breeding program.

The zoo's entire herd, including calves, will move to Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2024, following completion of an $88 million expansion.


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