After a 22-month wait, the Albuquerque BioPark in New Mexico welcomed a healthy female Elephant calf on October 2.
"Rozie and her calf are doing well and are getting to know each other behind-the-scenes," said Rhonda Saiers, Elephant Manager. "She is learning to nurse and getting more steady on her feet. She'll get to meet her sister, Daizy, and grandmother, Alice, within a few days."
The newest addition is the third Elephant born in New Mexico. Rozie was the first Elephant born at the ABQ BioPark Zoo back in 1992. She gave birth to Daizy, her first calf, in 2009. The multi-generation herd includes Rozie, her mother Alice, daughter Daizy and brand new calf. An unrelated female, Irene, is also part of the herd and has been a good auntie. Samson and Albert, two young males, have formed a bachelor herd, and can be seen in yards adjacent to the females.
"We're proud to be part of Elephant conservation through our breeding program," said Rick Janser, BioPark Director. "Our diverse herd represents how Elephants socialize in the wild, living in groups and raising calves together. These Elephants show how conservation programs can help ensure a future for endangered species."
Asian Elephants are endangered with only 40,000 left in the wild. The ABQ BioPark participates in the Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP boosts Elephant reproduction efforts and promotes genetic diversity to build a self-sustaining elephant population in North America.
The new calf will make her public debut in coming weeks. Rozie's new calf is an important addition to the Elephant population and to Albuquerque's herd. She will learn how to be an Elephant with the guidance of older Elephants. And Daizy, now 4 years old, will learn what it's like to raise a calf, which will help prepare her to be a mother in a few years.
See more photos of the Elephant calf below the fold!