Elephants on Parade...Melbourne Mali

As a child I remember loving our annual zoo trip, but I'd always leave feeling a little bothered about some of the animals and their behaviour. But that was back then...and whether you like zoos or not there's no getting away from the fact that they really have come such along way over the years.
Today the enclosures have such thought and planning behind their construction, food programmes are devised mimicking the animal's natural habits from the wild, toys and interesting environments challenging their minds and improving their well-being. All these positive changes are for the animals better welfare.
I remember when we were in Singapore and my children wanted to visit the zoo, I was rather reluctant to go because I didn't want them to have similar experiences I'd had but I needn't have worried.
Singapore Zoo was incredible and such a positive experience. The main thing that impressed me was the fact that there didn't appear to be any fences or pens. They were very clever in making it appear that the animals were just happy to stay within their boundaries. It was quite unnerving to begin with especially with a very active enquiring 8 year old animal lover and a 6 month old toddler!
One particular event that I remember very clearly was having a huge Elephant walk up behind us with his keeper. It put a whole new meaning to the word 'Walkies'! Thankfully I had my camera and my running shoes to hand...the first to capture this incredible event and the second just in case!!!

Remember that this was quite a few years ago (my toots are now 27 and 20 years old) so to see an elephant just walking through the zoo was a spectacular sight!
This photo is now placed in our 25 year wedding album ~ the one I'm supposed to be finishing, especially as time is marching on and we've now just celebrated our 33rd anniversary. 

I've always loved Elephants so imagine my delight when I heard that Australia's first zoo is delighted to be sharing the fun and excitement of its 150th anniversary with everyone in Melbourne, with the Mali in the City public art event. Mali the baby elephant was born in Melbourne Zoo in October 2010.

Fifty fibreglass models of the famous elephant calf, Mali have been painted by a variety of artists and are now on display on Melbourne city's streets until September 21 as part of the celebrations. The event, run in conjuction with Wild in Art has engaged three-time Archibald Prize finalist, artist David Bromley to be the program's Art Patron. 
Zoos Victoria has also announced a sister event for the major public art event, to engage school students in the celebrations. Every school in Victoria has been given the opportunity to get involved in Mali in my school. Fifty schools will design, paint and exhibit one of fifty mini-Malis alongside others being painted by renowned Australian artists.
We had a trip into the CBD this weekend and I actually managed to spot seven of the statues. Each so unique and vibrant...they really stand out and catch your eye. I was only able to photo two whilst walking ~ the other's I spotted whilst driving around.
I was thinking of trying to track the whole herd because there is an phone app that shows all of their locations but then thought 50 photos might be a little excessive! So here's just two...

They are amazing...

The elephants will begin their great migration to Melbourne Zoo where they will be on display for the entire month of October. 

 My friend J snapped this photo and sent it to me so he could join the herd here...I think this one might be my favourite so far....Thanks J

On 25th October the entire herd will then go under the hammer at an auction event with all proceeds going to Zoos Victoria's conservation work that fights the extinction of animals here in Australia and overseas.
The Zoo is calling for potential buyers to register their interest to attend the Mali in the City Auction via email at maliauction@zoo.org.au
Here's a beautiful video clip of some male bonding...

 (Courtesy of Melbourne Zoo ~ a brilliant video clip....check out much more on their website and see more of Marvellous Mali)
And there's more good news because Mali's Mum is pregnant again!
Dokkoon became the first of her endangered species to give birth at Melbourne Zoo when Mali was born.
Melbourne Zoo Director Kevin Tanner says that Dokkoon has now become the first elephant in Australia to achieve a second pregnancy. He said that ""If all goes smoothly during the 22-month pregnancy, Dokkoon will give birth to a little brother or sister for Mali in November 2013. That calf will be the fourth calf to be born at Melbourne Zoo."
How amazing it that! Obviously Melbourne Zoo has got it right.