Many Happy Returns for Mali the elephant
One of Melbourne Zoo's biggest stars has celebrated her birthday with some of her favourite foods and surrounded by her closest friends.
Mali the Asian Elephant feasted on bamboo and a range of vegetables and a special treat of fruit in the lead-up to her 10th birthday today.
Joining Mali to celebrate her birthday was Melbourne Zoo's entire herd of Asian Elephants.
Melbourne Zoo is home to six elephants – Mek Kapah, Dokkoon, Num-Oi, Kulab, Mali and Man Jai.
Elephant keeper Emma King said Mali is a special part of the herd.
"Mali has a very sweet personality and forms strong relationships with her keepers," Ms King said.
"Mali's birth ten years ago was significant as she was the first elephant born at Melbourne Zoo.
"She is integral to the cohesion of our whole herd."
Mali's younger sibling Man Jai celebrated his 6th birthday last month.
"Mali is very patient and attentive to her little brother Man Jai," Ms King said.
Asian Elephants were once widespread throughout Asia, but are now classified as endangered in the wild.
Poaching for ivory and the destruction of their natural habitat to make way for palm-oil plantations has resulted in a dramatic decline of the species.
Zoos Victoria’s ‘Don’t Palm Us Off’ campaign aims to raise awareness about unsustainable palm oil production in the habitat of the Asian Elephant, advocating for the clear labelling of palm oil on products sold in Australia.
Elephant lovers can find out more about the 'Don't Palm Us Off' campaign here.