Baby elephant’s first bath saves internet

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The internet needs rescuing this week. Our country is wounded; our hearts hurt. But we can bring you a smile and a bit of lighthearted relief, courtesy of one baby whose innocence is gracing cyberspace with raw, unfiltered joy.

Cue: Baby elephant’s first-ever water hose spray-down session.

Give your heart permission to melt. Save these photos as the wallpaper on your phone. Send to a friend or family member who needs it. This is pure bliss.

Born one month ago on May 14 to mom Mlilo, this little guy is changing every day. During this unforgettable water session with mom, he plopped down on the ground, enamored of the spitting water he could collect on his tongue.

Another recent “first” is putting food items in his mouth, just like mom. His awkward trunk manages to scoop up lone leaves. But unlike mom, he hasn’t mastered the consumption part just yet. Everything right now is simply exploratory.

He enjoys investigating mom’s diet as she eats. He plants this body directly under Mlilo’s jaw, fixated by the smells and sounds of her munching. His attempts to maneuver his tiny trunk into her open mouth fail every time.

He’s also learning basic husbandry behaviors, like target training. These skills eventually will help him voluntarily present parts of his body to keepers during health checks. As an AZA-accredited, protected contact zoo, we don’t share the same space with certain animals without a barrier between us. That’s why positive reinforcement training is so crucial. It lets the animal act as naturally as possible, and keeps both staff and animals safe.

“The calf enjoys the tactile sensation of working with the target, which resembles a massive cotton swab,” said elephant Curator Karen Gibson. “Mlilo’s attentive and protective of her baby, but she trusts us when we work with him. And he’s very comfortable with us. It’s always his choice if he wants to participate.”

And just like a toddler, constant distractions consume this little boy’s world.

“He’s a wild little man who brings us so much joy,” Gibson said. “It’s fascinating to watch him grow daily. His poops look like perfect Hershey’s kisses. And he’s learned to use his trunk like a straw in the water trough to blow bubbles.”

With multiple naps a day, endless nursing bouts, and continuous play sessions, we’ll never tire of this ellie boy’s antics. And it’s our promise to you to never stop sharing the moments that capture the sunshine he exudes, especially in dark times when we all need it most.

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Categories: Elephant | 28 Comments

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28 thoughts on “Baby elephant’s first bath saves internet

  1. Elaine

    Thank you so much for showing pictures of the baby elephant and keeping us up to date on the other animals at the zoo as well.

  2. Pingback: Dallas Zoo offers look into elephant’s baby book; hearts melt | | Dallas Morning News

  3. Kim

    My heart did need these pictures today. So cute & thanks for sharing. Does he have a video?

  4. Pingback: Leading Off (6/16/16) | FrontBurner | D Magazine

  5. Evilisa

    I needed this bit O happy!

  6. Vicki Lang

    He is so adorably cute. Thank you! Keep him safe and let us know when you name him. Vicki

  7. Maggie

    What an utter joy to watch. It does distract us from all the tragedy we have recently had
    Thanks for sharing this precious, silly boy

  8. Pingback: Dallas Zoo Releases Precious ‘First Bath’ Baby Elephant Pics « 103.7 KVIL

  9. Vicki Keifer

    This just makes my heart happy! Thanks for sharing! I can only image how enjoyable it is to see him grow every day. Thanks to Karen and the others for their work with these amazing creatures!

  10. Donna King

    What a joy to see such a sweet baby boy. He makes me smile.
    Please keep sending these wonderful pictures!!!!

    Thank you.

  11. Susan

    Just Precious!

    Thank you for adding some joy to my email

  12. Judy

    Thanks for a big smile. Precious

  13. Cara

    So funny the keeper mentions how cute his poop looks. That’s true love!!

  14. Susan Katrein

    Those pictures are absolutely adorable. Your posts illustrate how caring and loving you all are to our precious animals. Please continue to share them with us.

  15. Cassie Warning

    Is he in the general population now, so the public can see him? Thank you for the update and good news for a change.
    Your elephant safari is the best.

  16. Monica

    These are so adorable!! Thank you for all your posts and pictures.!

  17. Dena

    That is just too cute!

  18. Nancy

    Thanks for the cutest pictures. Baby animals are so precious!

  19. Serena

    I am in love! Thank you!

  20. Theresa

    ADORABLE!!! He’s so precious! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Michelle

    ah, my heart just grew and it’s all soft and squishy…

  22. Tonya Bredehoeft

    My heart just melted – thanks for sharing!!!

  23. Peggy

    I hope posts such as this one will motivate people to protect these creatures in the wild too. Zoos will soon be the only places these animals live if we don’t protect their habitats. Keep on caring for these beautiful beings, you do wonderful work!

  24. Frank and Pat

    Great Pictures and interesting story.

  25. Adelina

    He is just adorable.

  26. Crystal

    so adorable.

  27. Jessica Lauren

    Hello, I am coming to Dallas next week to visit family. I am planning on taking my 9 year old son to the zoo. Can the baby elephant be seen by the public? Thanks

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