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A baby elephant raises its trunk.
Photograph: Melbourne Zoo

An adorable baby elephant calf was just born at Melbourne Zoo

It's the second of three baby elephants expected to be born over the next few months

Adena Maier
Written by
Adena Maier

In adorable and exciting news, Melbourne Zoo has welcomed its second healthy Asian elephant calf, born late on November 25 to first-time mother, Mali – and it's a boy! This follows the safe arrival of another calf just two weeks ago to dam Dokkoon, who also happens to be Mali's mother. 

Mali, who is 12 years old, was not only the first female elephant born in Australia, but also the first born via artificial insemination. Luk Chai, the sire, was the first male elephant born in Australia, making their newborn calf the first all-Australian elephant to be born nationally.

The new calf is the second of three to arrive, with expectant mother Num Oi due to deliver the final member of the baby trio in January 2023. As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child – these simultaneous pregnancies mean that the calves will be raised by the entire herd, offering huge benefits for herd cohesion and social development. 

“We are thrilled and relieved that Mali’s first birth went so well, and that she is bonding and feeding successfully with her calf under the protective watch of the herd,” says Erin Gardiner, the life science manager of the Melbourne Zoo Trail of Elephants. “Mali’s calf is strong and healthy and looks to be larger than our first calf, born to Dokkoon on November 16.”

Before you buy tickets to the zoo to see the wee babies, be warned that it may be a few weeks or even months before the mums and calves will be visible to the public. “Two calves born in such close proximity is a wonderful occasion for the herd and they will require time and privacy to settle in and get to know one another,” says Gardiner. But in the meantime, if you're a Zoos Victoria member, you'll be invited to enter a competition to help name the zoo's latest additions.

For those living close to the city, fair warning: in 2024, the entire Asian elephant herd will be moved from Melbourne Zoo to Werribee Open Range Zoo following the completion of an $88-million-dollar expansion funded by the Victorian government.

After some more wholesome animal news? Collins Street's famous falcon hatchlings are ready to fly the coop.

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