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Your morning adorable: Asian elephant calf goes for a swim at Australia's Taronga Zoo

November 4, 2009 | 11:50 am

Baby elephant at the Taronga Zoo

At Australia's Taronga Zoo, the birth of an Asian elephant calf this summer was a cause for celebration. The calf, a male, was the first of his species to be born in an Australian zoo. 

The zoo held a contest to name the baby, for which it received about 30,000 entries. In the end, the name Luk Chai (pronounced "Look Chai") was selected for him. "We liked this name as it reflects his Thai heritage and means 'my son,'" according to the Taronga Conservation Society. "A word that sounds similar to Chai also means triumph, and our boisterous and inquisitive boy certainly is a triumph for the conservation breeding program."

Zoo staff report that Luk Chai loves swimming. He "learned really quickly not to get out of his depth in the water," keeper Lucy Melo said. "He goes into the moat at the end near the elephants' barn, which has steps making it easy for him to control how deep he gets."

He also enjoys wallowing in the mud and, if you can believe your eyes, soccer! See a photo of him playing with a giant soccer ball after the jump.

Baby elephant at the Taronga Zoo

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo credits: Rick Stephens / AFP/Getty Images

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