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Oldest Zoo in Japan Asks Public’s Help Naming First Baby Elephant Born in 138 Years


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    A new baby elephant was born in Japan’s oldest zoo, and staff members are now asking for help in naming him.

    The public had their first glimpse of the male calf on Tuesday at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in Taito Ward, according to Reuters. He was born on Oct. 31.


    The baby male elephant, which measures 100 centimeters (39 inches) tall and 120 kilograms (265 pounds) at birth, is the son of mother Authi and father Artid.

    The elephant parents were given by Thailand to Japan as a gift to celebrate the birth of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako’s only daughter, Princess Aiko, in 2002.

    Screenshot via Nippon TV News 24 Japan

    However, the calf’s father passed away from tuberculosis in August.

    Princess Aiko, who just turned 19 when the baby elephant was unveiled to the public, was happy with the calf’s birth. She is looking forward to seeing him, according to the Imperial Household Agency via Nippon TV News 24 Japan.

    Screenshot via Nippon TV News 24 Japan

    The calf is the first elephant born at the zoo since it first opened its doors in 1882.

    Ueno Zoological Gardens is limiting the public’s interactions with the calf for about a week and prohibiting photo-taking to avoid overstimulating him, Kyodo News reported.

    Screenshot via Nippon TV News 24 Japan

    There are three choices for the calf’s name, which were suggested by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo: Arun (“dawn” in Thai), Atsadong (sunset), or Tawan (sun).

    People can reportedly cast their votes either online or at the zoo. Voting will run through noon of Dec. 13, with the winning name announced on Dec. 15.

    Featured Image Screenshot via Nippon TV News 24 Japan (left), Reuters (right)

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