Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mr. Shuffles Makes me Smile

Mr. Shuffles is a miracle elephant.

After almost 2 years in his mother's womb, the vets found not vital signs and he was presumed to be stillborn.

At a press conference, the staff at Taronga Zoo in Australia announced the sad news.

Photo: Dean Sewell

But in spite of the odds, Mr. Shuffles was born at the in Australia on March 10, 2010 at 3.27 am.

Katharina Theodore was one of the first keepers in the elephant barn the morning after Portnip, the mother elephant, gave birth.

"We went to greet all the elephants, walked up to Porntip and she didn't react at all." Theodore said.

"She seemed to be in a stupor and so I started to cry literally. I noticed blood on her legs and the bulge that was holding the calf was missing. So Gary and I walked into the paddock and we found a calf.

"I was kind of happy that at least she'd expelled the calf and I was thinking that's great, we can move on and look after her.

"And then, mind-blowingly enough, the calf raised its head."

20 vets and keepers quickly went to work, round the clock, administering to the calf who they feared suffered brain damage.

When Mr. Shuffles was well enough to take his first steps, they were heavy and unsure, like that of an old man, hence the nickname "Mr. Shuffles."

He was officially renamed Pathi Harn in a ceremony held by Buddhist monks to celebrate his Thai culture. This caused a minor uproar online (by people like me) who really, really like his nickname.

Parthi Harn is the Thai word for miracle.

Pathi Harn is getting stronger day by day, feeding heartily from his mother and playing with his cousin, Luk Chai .

And while his beautiful Thai name reflects his regal status which he rightfully deserves, he will always be known as Mr. Shuffles to many.

He's a little wide-eyed and goofy - a creature who has gone through something. A creature who is happy to be alive.

Mr. Shuffles lives!

Mr. Shuffles Naming Ceremony:

Mr. Shuffles Slips into a pool:

News clip on Mr. Shuffle. He's a happy-go-lucky baby elephant!

Follow Mr. Shuffles on Twitter.

Brisbane Times
ABC News Australia

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