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Elephant calf steps outside for public view

Elephants at the Oklahoma City Zoo, including its calf, have begun venturing outside for public viewing.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL Published: May 11, 2011

The elephant calf at the Oklahoma City Zoo has made her appearance in the zoo's outdoor habitats this week.

The calf will spend a few hours outside each morning if weather permits, zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson said.

Zoo staff let her to stay outside longer each day to allow her time to acclimate to her new home and to prevent sunburn.

After the daily outing, the herd will return to the elephant barn, which can be seen from the exhibit boardwalk, Henson said.

The Asian elephant calf was born April 15 to mother Asha. The calf is the first elephant born at the Oklahoma City Zoo. She weighs about 350 pounds, about 50 more than when she was born April 15.

The name of the baby elephant will be announced at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday at a ceremony at the zoo.

The public was allowed to vote online from a selection of three names chosen by elephant keepers:

Malee, pronounced “MAY-lee,” is Thai for flower or jasmine. This is the name the zookeepers prefer.

Annika, pronounced “AH-nik-uh,” is Dutch for favor or grace.

Hanako, pronounced “HAH-nuh-koh,” is Japanese for flower girl.

More than 14,000 votes came in, Henson said.