He weighed almost three-quarters of a ton. But like any toddler, Aayu the elephant just wants to play.
And that meant sister Nandita had to put up with the one-year-old clambering on her back when he made such a decision.
If that isn’t enough, another sister, Indali, a month older than Aayu, also liked to join in.
The three are the youngest members of the Asian elephant herd at Chester Zoo and keep visitors entertained by rolling in the dust, playfights, and other antics.
Nandita, who will turn three in August, is clearly enjoying her role as an older sister – and that often means keeping her excitable younger brother in check.
Andy McKenzie, the zoo’s elephant team manager, said: ‘Little Aayu wants to play fight all the time, which girls don’t necessarily want to do.
“So it can get a bit boisterous. He’s trying to push everybody all the time. He weighs 700kg (110th), so he’s not small at all, even though he’s only a year old. But they don’t hurt each other; they are pretty powerful little things. ”
He added that the siblings love nothing more than to be together, with the bond being particularly strong between Nandita and Aayu.
“They don’t want to be apart. Nandita leads them around, and if they are not satisfied, we will take them back to their mothers. She is still a baby but she is learning her role within the herd. ”
The eight elephants in their herd spanned four generations.
The three babies share the same father – Aung Bo, 16, weighing 4.5 tonnes – but have different mothers, which means three elderly females are willing to wait to keep the babies in line.
The herd is part of Europe’s endangered species breeding program. Only about 40,000 Asian elephants are left in the wild due to habitat loss, ivory po.ach.ing, and other human activities.