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Taronga Western Plains Zoo Porntip's Calf

Discussion in 'Australia' started by Zoofan15, 1 May 2018.

  1. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Announcement (April 2017):

    Zoo expecting second Asian Elephant calf

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo is excited to announce that Asian Elephant Porntip is pregnant and expecting her second calf in July 2018.

    Porntip was artificially inseminated in late 2016 with semen collected from Perth Zoo’s bull, Putra Mas.

    “This impending birth will see a new genetic blood line created in the Australasian region’s Asian Elephant population, as Putra Mas’ first calf sadly passed away at Melbourne Zoo,” said Elephant Keeper, Bradd Johnston.
    The conservation breeding program for Asian Elephants in Australia has been tremendously successful, with three calves born at Taronga Zoo and another one due soon, five calves at Melbourne Zoo and one calf in Dubbo.

    “This will be Porntip’s second calf,” said Bradd. “She gave birth to her to her first calf, Pathi Harn, at Taronga Zoo in 2010.”

    “Porntip has played a very prominent role in supporting Thong Dee to raise Sabai, the male Asian Elephant calf born at Dubbo on 2 November 2016. Porntip is a very nurturing elephant. She treats Sabai as if he was her own, which we hope continues when her own calf is born next year,” said Bradd.

    This announcement marks almost two years since four Asian Elephants – Thong Dee, Porntip, Luk Chai and Pathi Harn – arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo from Taronga Zoo in Sydney as the region’s conservation breeding program expanded.

    “Staff will keep Porntip’s routine as similar as possible for the remaining 15 months of her pregnancy. She will be monitored by her keepers and our veterinary team to ensure her pregnancy progresses well during this time.”
     
  2. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Pregnancy Update (April 2018):

    Porntip pregnancy update

    Elephants have the longest gestation period of any land animal at 22 months. And with just over two months left until her due date in July 2018, Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s pregnant Asian Elephant cow, Porntip, is on the home run.

    Keepers and Veterinary staff at the Zoo are pleased with Porntip’s health and overall condition. Porntip’s typically tall, lean frame sports a rotund stomach that is a clear giveaway she is a mother-to-be. Her unborn calf will be the second Asian Elephant to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, following the arrival of male Asian Elephant calf Sabai on 2 November 2016.

    Porntip is Sabai’s aunty, and takes it upon herself to care for him whenever the need arises; almost like a second mother. Sabai’s mother Thong Dee shares a strong connection with Porntip, and together they excel at mothering duties. Keepers are confident their special relationship will grow stronger with the arrival of Porntip’s calf in July.

    Sabai will also learn how to be a great role model to the young calf. Still a calf himself, Sabai will be an important contributor to the new calf’s development. Once old enough, Porntip’s unborn calf will be able to enjoy interacting and playing with cousin Sabai.

    Weighing 3,166 kilograms as of mid-April 2018, Porntip is at a standard weight for an Asian Elephant cow at her stage of pregnancy. She enjoys an impressive 25-30 kilograms of food daily, including hay, browse (leaves), Elephant grass and other tasty treats.

    Veterinary staff are checking Porntip regularly, with health checks including blood tests and other assessments to make sure her wellbeing is on track. As Porntip nears her due date, night watches will become more regular, with Keepers constantly reviewing camera vision from the Elephant enclosures.

    Porntip fell pregnant via artificial insemination to Putra Mas, an Asian Elephant bull in the care of Perth Zoo. The July birth will be her second, following the arrival of her male calf, Pathi Harn, in March 2010. Porntip showed her abilities as an excellent mother first time around, and Pathi Harn continues to enjoy life at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, having grown into an impressive young bull himself.

    While another significant milestone is on the horizon for Porntip, she still enjoys normal routines including morning baths and sand-yard routines with Keepers, which help her to stay fit and healthy. Her laidback, easy-going personality continues to shine through. Porntip will enjoy extra special care and attention from Keepers and Veterinary staff to ensure she is in her best shape ahead of the July delivery.

    Having two Asian Elephant calves at once will be an exciting time for the Asian Elephant breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, and a promising outlook for the future of this species in our care.
     
  3. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    It's a Girl!!!

    Elephant calf birth heralds future breeding success

    Taronga is thrilled to announce the birth of an Asian Elephant calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

    The healthy female calf was born in the Elephant barn on Friday 14 June 2018 at 3:07am to mother Porntip, and was sired by Perth Zoo’s bull, Putra Mas via artificial insemination in late 2016. The birth sees a new genetic blood line created in the Australasian region’s Asian Elephant population.

    “The fact that this calf is a female and heralds the beginning of a new genetic blood line for the wider Asian Elephant conservation and breeding program is a great achievement,” said Taronga Director and CEO, Cameron Kerr.

    “I’m delighted to report that mother and calf are doing well and veterinarians are happy with the calf’s progress at this early stage.”

    The calf was standing on its own within the first hour and is now suckling from mother Porntip.

    “We are absolutely delighted by the arrival of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s second Asian Elephant calf. Experienced mother Porntip is doing a wonderful job and the keepers and veterinary staff are to be commended for their dedication and hard work, ensuring such a successful outcome. Every birth is so important for this endangered species and helps to secure their future,” said Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.

    Keepers and vets monitored Porntip throughout the labour and birth of the calf, with staff staying overnight at the elephant barn for the past week to keep a close eye on her.

    “Everything went to plan with the birthing process. Porntip and the calf are doing well and are spending time together in the elephant barn and behind the scenes paddock. Porntip is a very maternal elephant and already we are pleased with the attentive and nurturing behaviour we are observing,” said Elephant Keeper, Bradd Johnston.

    “Porntip gave birth to her first calf, Pathi Harn at Taronga Zoo in 2010 and has since been a very supportive and caring aunty to Sabai here in Dubbo,” said Bradd.

    Taronga has now welcomed six elephant calves across both Zoos since the breeding program commenced 12 years ago, with four calves born in Sydney and two at Dubbo.

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to nine Asian Elephants following the arrival of bull Gung in early 2018 and now Porntip’s calf in June 2018.

    Mother and calf will be given further time to bond behind-the-scenes before making their public debut. The Zoo will soon be announcing a competition to help choose a name for the calf.
     
  4. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    Is 8 years between the her births deliberate on the zoos account? It seems a long time beteern them.
     
  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    There was at least one unsuccessful attempt to perform AI on Porntip around late 2014. Had she conceived on this attempt, she would have given birth around the same time Thong Dee gave birth to Sabai, which I imagine was Taronga's intention. This would have been a gap of 6 years between her two births. Few elephants in the region are being bred back to (Dokkoon with calves in 2010 and 2013 and Num Oi with calves in 2013 and 2016 being an exception) so I believe Taronga were aiming for a gap of 6-7 years between Porntip's calves as this is also the age gaps between Thong Dee and Pak Boon's calves.

    I agree 8 years is a long interval between births. Melbourne Zoo will also be looking at some long intervals between their calves. Dokkoon's last calf was 5 years ago and Kulab's last calf was 8 years ago, so even if either of them were to conceive in the next few months, they'd be looking at intervals of 7 and 10 years respectively.
     
  6. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    The next few years will be interesting with regards to movements of elephants in the region. Both Taronga Zoo and Melbourne Zoo have empty (well Taronga have filled their's with giraffe temporarily) bull elephant exhibits so either could potentially import a new bull (such as Putra Mas) for natural breeding. Alternatively, the exhibits may already be allocated for the two young bulls, Man Jai (2013) and Jai Dee (2017) at the Melbourne and Taronga Zoo's respecitvely, with the intention to breed with the females through AI.

    With five females in their herd (four of reproductive age), Melbourne Zoo might even have to consider a split of their herd like Taronga Zoo did a few years ago) before further breeding can occur. I haven't seen the enclosure at Melbourne, so I'm not qualified to speak on the size of it and it's implications for breeding, though I hear it's not a large exhibit.
     
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  7. toothlessjaws

    toothlessjaws Well-Known Member

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    Melbourne's exhibit is smaller but slightly better than Taronga's in practical terms, with 3 paddocks and 2 barns all interconnected. However like all urban zoo elephant exhibits, its just another cramped, dusty attempt to avoid what I consider inevitable: that logic demands elephants only belong in large open-range style zoos.

    I can only hope that when the time comes, Melbourne don't follow Taronga's lead and split the herd - instead accepting that ALL the animals are best served being moved together to Werribee.
     
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  8. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    With the elephants being such a drawcard for Melbourne Zoo (as well as part of their history), it's hard to imagine them sending the entire herd to Werribee. However, London Zoo essentially did this in 2001.

    From what I understand, the closest bonds in Melbourne's herd are Met Kepah and Dokkoon; and Kulab and Num Oi, as well as the strongest bond being between mother/daughter Dokkoon and Mali. Therefore splitting the herd into Met Kepah, Dokkoon and Mali; and Kulab and Num Oi could theoretically happen in the future without devastating effects on the elephants involved.

    Tricia at Perth Zoo is 61 and isnt going to live forever. I'm not sure whether they plan to import a new female to keep 29 year old Permai company or whether they will send her elsewhere.

    One option could be to send Putra Mas to Melbourne Zoo, send Man Jai to Perth Zoo. Send Pak Boon, Tang Mo, Tukta and Jai Dee to TWPZ (to be reunited with their herd) and send Kulab and Num Oi to Taronga Zoo (after they have conceived naturally to Putra Mas at Melbourne, where he will remain to breed with Dokkoon and Mali).
     
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  9. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Article from Perth Zoo about the sire, Putra Mas:

    Elephant Calf Sired by Perth Zoo Bull Heralds New Era for Regional Program | Perth Zoo

    An Asian Elephant calf born in NSW has been sired by Perth Zoo bull, ‘Putra Mas’.

    The young female was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in country NSW on Friday 14 June, 2018 at 3:07am to mother, ‘Porntip’ and Perth male, Putra Mas via artificial insemination which was conducted in late 2016.

    The birth is a significant achievement and the first time Putra Mas’ genetics have been successfully represented, creating a new bloodline in the Australasian Breeding Program which aims to fight extinction of the endangered species.

    Senior Elephant Keeper, Kirsty Carey, said: “Putra Mas’ genetics are very valuable, so we are delighted that after more than 14 years of hard work he now has offspring and made a valuable contribution to the regional breeding program.”

    “Putra Mas’ name means ‘golden prince’ and he has certainly lived up to that name,” said Kirsty.

    “The fact that this calf is a female makes the birth even more special as it heralds the beginning of a new genetic blood line for the wider Asian Elephant conservation and breeding program.”

    With less than 35,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild, Perth Zoo is a proud participant in the regional program, contributing sperm from Putra Mas via artificial insemination.

    It is no small feat to artificially inseminate an elephant.

    “With AI, everything is timed down to the minute, it has to be precise. There has never been any success with elephant semen being frozen and thawed out, so we work very closely with the zoos around the country to pinpoint the exact time the females are ovulating, do a collection from Putra Mas and get it onto a plane to the waiting elephant,” said Kirsty.

    “We often work with experts from the
    Berlin Institute for Zoo Biology and have refined our techniques over time which has resulted in the birth of this beautiful female calf.”

    “Not only are we personally thrilled that Putra Mas now has a calf, reproduction technology is increasingly important for saving species, and that is what we are here to do – save wildlife.”

    Putra Mas’ daughter joins a herd of eight other elephants at Dubbo. Mother and calf will be given further time to bond behind-the-scenes before making their public debut. Taronga Western Plains Zoo will soon be announcing a competition to help choose a name for the calf.
     
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  10. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    It seems they are suggesting Putra Mas will be used more often for live semen AI. Probably the reason they are really bent on planning using further AI with the ARAZPA regional program (???).

    AI reproductive work: Interesting to learn and note that there has never been - till date - any successful pregnancy and / or birth from frozen and thawed out semen.

    A side note: AI and female offspring ...! Any stats on that?
     
  11. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    I believe I read on here that AI has produced a ratio of only 10-20% female calves (I assume this was European or worldwide data).

    In Australasia we have 3 bulls who have bred:

    Gung has fathered 3.1 calves naturally

    Putra Mas has fathered 0.2 calves through AI

    Bong Su has fathered 4.1 calves through AI

    So to date, 1 of the bulls in the region supports this statistic; 2 contradict it.

    The New Zealand Dairy industry has developed technology for selling farmers sexed semen (who want female calves) so surely this could be applied to elephants.
     
  12. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Calf Goes on Display/Naming Competition

    Asian Elephant calf now on exhibit

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s newborn Asian Elephant calf will make her media debut today alongside mother Porntip, aunty Thong Dee and older calf Sabai.

    The female calf born on Thursday 14 June 2018 is now one week old. Zoo Keepers are thrilled with the little one’s progress behind the scenes.

    “The calf is so cute but she is also very strong,” said Elephant Keeper Joel Kerr. “She’s been very active since her birth. She moves around a lot during the day, and at night time in the barn she lays down and rests.”

    “The calf stays right underneath her mum when moving around the paddock and into new areas, which is very natural. Porntip is being a wonderful mother. She is very attentive and patient and has bonded very well with her calf.”

    Mother and calf recently had their first bath together, which will form part of their daily routine. Fellow herd members Thong Dee and her 18 month old calf Sabai have welcomed the calf into the family unit.

    “Thong Dee was very good support for Porntip during the birth, staying near her but also letting Porntip have some space from time to time. She is now being a good aunty to the calf. For Sabai, this is a whole new experience for him. He was a little overzealous at first, but he is quickly learning the right behaviours around the new arrival.”

    From today, the calf will be on exhibit with the rest of the herd from 10am-2pm daily, weather depending.

    Zoo Director Steve Hinks said: “All our staff and volunteers are absolutely thrilled by the birth of this little girl. We are all looking forward to watching her grow and develop over the coming months.”

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to nine Asian Elephants following the arrival of bull Gung in early 2018 and now Porntip’s calf this month.

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo is calling for name suggestions for the new elephant calf. Suggestions can be entered online at
    www.taronga.org.au/taronga-western-plains-zoo/namedubboelephantcalf with Zoo Keepers to choose the most suitable name. Entries close 5pm on 5 July 2018.
     
  13. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Article on the Birth

    Witnessing the Elephant calf birth

    We knew the birth was imminent as we’d received results from a blood test indicating Thong Dee’s progesterone levels had dropped to what we call baseline. So from Saturday 9 July we started overnight watches with two keepers staying overnight to watch via cameras and monitor Porntip’s progress.

    In the lead up to Sabai’s birth in 2016, I was on the first overnight watch with Josie. That night there was no labour behaviours observed and it was a very uneventful night. The next day Sabai was born in the afternoon with very little warning. The first night of Porntip’s overnight watch was very different. From 10pm we began to observe a number of behaviours associated with labour, a lot of agitation, posturing in different ways and occasionally pushing against the wall.

    By 2am you can really talk yourself into the fact that it might happen at any moment, but by 3am Porntip laid down and went to sleep and that was the end of the excitement for that night. The next few evenings were very similar, with labour behaviours observed throughout the night but the calf still hadn’t arrived.

    On the fifth night of the overnight watch, following a rotating cast of elephant team members Greig and I settled in for another long evening. Though something did seem just slightly more intense about her behaviour and the posturing and pushing seemed to start a little sooner that night. We were joined by the newest member of our team Christina, eager to come and watch for what she intended to be a couple of hours but was soon addicted to watching this, our very own reality TV show, where at any moment something might happen, so she ultimately couldn’t leave.

    There was a lot of moving around from Porntip and more posturing, pushing and stretching. It was early morning, Christina went to have a nap in her car, and Porntip lay down shortly after at around 2am, much like her routine on previous nights, and appeared to go to sleep. Surely that couldn’t be it. Then at 3:01am she abruptly sat up and began to posture and stretch. It was hard to see from the camera angle but Greig and I were trying to work out if we could see a bulge under the tail or not, as this is what you will see immediately prior to birth. At that moment Christina came back in the door as if she had a premonition. It was definitely about to happen and we all got our phones out to try and call everyone on the team to come in.

    I was just telling Bradd to get in because it was about to happen when I had to correct myself, it had happened. Porntip sat up briefly on her front legs, both rear legs off the ground and gave one last push and the calf was delivered on to the floor at 3:07am!

    There was a lot of vocalising from the cows as they proceeded to back away into the next stall and leave the calf to make her own way to her feet which she did in style. She was a very strong and confident calf from the onset, she only stumbled a couple of times but would recover quickly. The other three next door finally worked up the courage to investigate her further and in a high energy and vocal procession, came back into the stall lead by Thong Dee to get a closer look. Thong Dee was very animated but behaved perfectly and protective as a good ‘aunty’ should. This was a first for Sabai to experience something like this, his ears were out and his tail up pointing to the sky.

    This was Porntip’s second calf but she was still quite slow to take charge of the situation, possibly still in a little shock and awe over what had just happened. Her confidence grew and she showed herself to be the attentive mother that we know she is. The rest of the team arrived very quickly on the scene, I think everyone hadn’t slept much the last few nights, staring at the ceiling in anticipation that the phone might ring. Everyone was elated with the new calf the fact it was a female calf. A female was the perfect result to help grow our herd especially with the precious genetics of Perth Zoo’s bull elephant, Putra Mas. The calf has since grown in strength and confidence in leaps and bounds, she is now over three weeks old and has weighed in at 122kg. She is feeding well from mum and usually leads the way out on to exhibit at 10am every day. She is very confident and curious when interacting with the keepers and is especially fond of bath time. We are just waiting on a name now and hopefully it will be something to reflect how strong and confident she is.
     
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  14. cmrButton5

    cmrButton5 Well-Known Member

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    The calf has been named Kanlaya, which means beautiful lady in Thai
     
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  15. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

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    Raise your trunks! Dubbo's Elephant calf has a name

    Taronga Western Plains Zoo is thrilled to announce the name ‘Kanlaya’ has been chosen for the now one-month-old female Asian Elephant calf born on 14 June. Kanlaya means beautiful lady in Thai.

    The winning name was chosen from over 5000 entries received through the Zoo’s national naming competition. Zoo keepers from both Taronga Western Plains Zoo and Perth Zoo selected the winning name from the thousands of entries, Perth Zoo being home to Kanlaya’s father, Putras Mas.

    “We chose to name because we all think she is a beautiful addition to our herd”, said Elephant Supervisor, Glenn Sullivan.

    Kanlaya is now just over one month old and is meeting all the key milestones her keepers want to see at this age. She is very strong and has really grown in confidence over the past month.

    “Kanlaya often leads Porntip out on to their exhibit in the mornings, but once out she spends most of her time close to mum, often underneath her,” said Glenn.

    Kanlaya is steadily gaining weight and now weighs over 120kgs. Like most elephants she likes water.

    “Kanlaya is already starting to join in the herd’s morning routine. While we bath Porntip, she will often enjoy a little warm hose down as well, and even more recently a little scrub,” said Glenn.

    Porntip and aunty Thong Dee are both very caring and nurturing towards the calf and ensure that older cousin Sabai doesn’t get too close. Sabai is very curious of the new addition and sometimes requires Porntip to provide him with some boundaries. Over the coming months keepers will continue to monitor Kanlaya’s growth and development and will start to see her become more inquisitive about her surroundings.

    Kanlaya and the Asian Elephant herd can be seen on exhibit daily from 10am – 2pm. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to nine Asian Elephants.
     
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  16. jay

    jay Well-Known Member

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    I look forward to seeing the second generation of elephants to be born in australia. While the first will probably be a child of one of the first biys to be born, hopefullt in 10 to 15 years this little one will have her first.
     
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  17. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    I do welcome the recent relocation (and plans for) of several elephant herds to the open range concept in Australian zoos participating in the ZAA Asiatic elephant program.

    The city zoo spaces could then be filled up with more species and show-casing other and smaller interesting animals and plants from the Earth Kingdom.
     
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  18. Jambo

    Jambo Well-Known Member

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    Update on Kanlaya:

    Kanlaya making big strides

    Keepers and veterinarians at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are very pleased by the early progress of Asian Elephant calf Kanlaya. Born on 14 June to mother Porntip and father Putra Mas (Perth Zoo’s bull via artificial insemination) she has been making big strides.

    Kanlaya has demonstrated that she is a fast learner and has settled into her daily routine already. She now weighs 184kg and is exceptionally confident.

    Kanlaya still enjoys staying underneath her mum most of the time, but is very self-assured when it comes to going through the raceways out on to exhibit every day. She is also starting to venture away from Porntip for short periods whilst on exhibit to explore her surrounds.

    Kanalya recently started learning how to use her trunk to pick up hay and other foods like apple, sweet potato and palm fronds. It generally takes 6 – 12 months for an elephant calf to learn how to use their trunk properly so this is just the first stage in that learning process.

    Keepers are thrilled with how Porntip is once again proving to be a very maternal and patient mother. She is very attentive and caring towards her calf. Porntip will regularly guide Kanlaya back to her using her trunk, especially when Sabai her older cousin is close by. Sabai was a little over zealous with Kanlaya to begin with but is starting to learn how to behave around the younger calf.
     
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