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Your morning adorable: Asian elephant calf makes her debut at Australia's Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo's new Asian elephant - named Baby for the time being

Australia's Melbourne Zoo welcomed a female Asian elephant calf on Jan. 16, and the baby -- who doesn't have an official name yet, but goes by the somewhat-uncreative-if-you-ask-us nickname "Baby" -- recently made her public debut.

For her first few weeks of life, zoo staff elected to keep her out of the public eye in order to maximize her bonding time with mother Dokkoon. That seems to have been a success, zoo spokesperson Judith Henke told Australia's Herald Sun. "She is progressing really well, so it's been decided to start the public viewing," Henke said.

Baby is the first elephant calf to be born at the Melbourne Zoo and only the second to be born in an Australian zoo, the first being Luk Chai, a male calf born at the Taronga Zoo last summer. More photos after the jump!

Melbourne Zoo's new Asian elephant - named Baby for the time being

Melbourne Zoo's new Asian elephant - named Baby for the time being

Melbourne Zoo's new Asian elephant - named Baby for the time being

-- Lindsay Barnett

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First, second and third photos: Baby plays at the zoo on Feb. 10. Credit: William West / AFP/Getty Images

Fourth photo: Baby with her mother and another adult elephant during her first public outing Feb. 9. Credit: European Pressphoto Agency

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There is little to be joyous when one considers this poor calf will be a captive for life. She is born with a body that needs to walk great distances for her physical and mental health. Space, along with her other instinctual needs, will forever be denied because we have the selfish need to see elephants in postage stamp sized exhibits. Statistics show she will likely die decades before her natural lifespan. The only winner in this is the Melbourne Zoo's bank account.

The hypocrisy of the zoo industry and of the media is apparent in the ridiculous comment that the baby elephant was kept away from the public for a few days to "maximize her bonding time with her mother". This is the same crowd (zoo) who will willingly ship her off and separate her from her mother when she is old enough to breed (and no longer an attention-grabbing adorable baby). The zoo has no problem separating families and/or friends who have made deep bonds - because zoos won't do what is best for elephants - just what's best for their pocket books.

Elephants forced into a captive life suffer emotionally, physically, and as a species.


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