TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s oldest zoo presented the first elephant calf born on the site since its founding more than a century ago, and asked the public to help baptize it.
The male cub was shown to the public on Tuesday for the first time since he was born, on October 31, at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo.
Her mother, Authi, and her father, Artid, were presented by Thailand to Japan in 2002 to commemorate the birth of Princess Aiko, the only daughter of the Japanese emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako.
The Ueno Zoo, founded in 1882, asked the public to vote online to decide the baby’s name, choosing one of the candidates suggested by the Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo.
The options are Arun, which means “dawn” in Thai, Atsadong (sunset) and Tawan (sun). The winning name will be announced on December 15th.
Visits to the baby elephant and Authi, 22, are being limited to two hours a day, for now, so as not to stress the animals.
The cub was about 1 meter tall and 120 kilos at birth, but has grown considerably since then. Unfortunately, his father died of tuberculosis at the age of 23 in August.
(By Rikako Maruyama, Akiko Okamoto and Rocky Swift in Tokyo)