A baby elephant was born after the longest pregnancy recorded at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo... and, to make matters more interesting, he is also the smallest baby ever recorded there.
After a whopping 700-day pregnancy, the newest addition to the zoo's Asian elephant herd was born at 12:15am on October 18. This is the third baby for experienced mum Azizah. The normal gestation period for an Asian elephant is 22 months but the new calf stayed put for nearly two years.
Despite this, the new calf, who has yet to be named, weighed in at just 228 pounds (104kg) at birth. Keepers were initially worried the pint-sized pachyderm would not be tall enough to reach his mum’s milk, but he quickly learnt to get on his tip-toes and has had no problem feeding.
Elephant keeper Lee Sambrook said: “Azizah took to him straightaway and the rest of the herd are so excited to be around the baby and touch it. Elephants are social animals and having youngsters joining the herd is what elephant life is about.”
The baby is venturing out of the elephant barn with the rest of the herd on warmer days, where visitors can see him outside in the paddock playing with his siblings and suckling his mum.