Elephant

Asian Elephant Calf Takes His First Steps at Melbourne Zoo

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An Asian Elephant, named Dokkoon, has given birth to her second calf at Melbourne Zoo in Australia. Born on December 8, the calf is a male weighing in at an incredible 289 pounds (131 kg). 

Dokkoon went into labor shortly after midnight and keepers were on hand to help the young calf to take his first steps within a few minutes of the birth. He suckled for the first time shortly after 7 a.m. and has been feeding with enthusiasm ever since. 

Both mom and baby are doing well and beginning to bond. The calf is the zoo's fourth Asian Elephant birth and a baby brother for Mali, the zoo's first-ever elephant calf, born in 2010.  In the coming days and weeks, the young calf will begin the process of being introduced to the rest of the herd. 

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Photo credits: Melbourne Zoo / Andrew Griffiths

Asian Elephants are an Endangered species, threatened by habitat loss caused by human expansion and conflict. Poaching for ivory is also a major concern. As a member of Zoos Victoria, Melbourne Zoo is a not-for-profit that engages in conservation programs, ranging from captive breeding of endangered species to research and promoting public awareness. You can adopt an animal (like this Elephant calf!) or make general donation to the zoo's conservation initiatives.  

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Whipsnade Zoo Trumpets a New Arrival

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The Zoological Society of London welcomed Max the Asian Elephant calf on October 12 at the Whipsnade Zoo in the United Kingdom.

Measuring three feet (1m) tall and weighing 283 pounds (129 kg), Max was born to second-time mother Karishma and was on his feet within minutes of his birth. 

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Photo Credits:  Stefan Groeneveld (1,3,5,6,7); Whipsnade Zoo (2,4,8,9,10)
 

Keeper Stefan Groeneveld said: “Max is already showing an independent streak. He’ll happily leave his mum’s side to go and play in the paddock with the rest of the herd.  Elephants are very social animals and having youngsters joining the herd is what Elephant life is all about.”

Max shares Whipsnade’s seven acre paddock with nine other Elephants – including brother George, aged three, and half siblings Donna, four, and Scott, two – and is an important addition to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Asian Elephants.

See more photos and learn more about Elephants below the fold.

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Ramat Gan Safari Park Welcomes a Second Asian Elephant Calf

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Two female Asian Elephant calves have been born at Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel. The first female to give birth was 7.5 year-old La-Belle, on August 2. As she is a very young mother, her own mother La-Petite, heavily pregnant herself, took over and nursed the calf. After a few nerve-wracking days of 24-hour monitoring, keepers could rest assured that the calf was getting enough milk, suckling from both her mother and her grandmother alternately. The calf, born a bit small, was named Latangi which means ‘slim girl’ in the Sanskrit language. (See our first story about Latangi here.)  

After exactly two months of anticipation, a second female calf was born to 28-year-old La-Petite. This time the calf was bigger and stronger and received the Hindi name ‘Lalana’ meaning ‘a girl’. Both mothers and calves are doing great. They are spending their days in the exhibit happily, together with the father Motek. The birth of the two calves is wonderful news, especially as Asian Elephants are a unique and endangered species. 

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Photo credits: Tibor Jager / Ramat Gan Safari Park

See video of the calves and mothers together:

 

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Meet the Two-Day-Old Elephant Calf at ABQ Biopark

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After a 22-month wait, the Albuquerque BioPark in New Mexico welcomed a healthy female Elephant calf on October 2.

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Photo Credit:  ABQ Biopark


"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!

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UPDATE! Bath-time for Kolmarden Zoo's Elephant Calf

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Photo credit: Kolmarden Zoo

Kolmarden Zoo's Elephant calf, born July 27, is growing up healthy and happy with his family. He especially loves his bath-time, when keepers spray him with a hose! The only thing that could make this scene cuter would be an elephant-sized rubber duckie...

To see photos of the elephant calf at two days-old, visit our first story about the calf here.


Zoo Vienna's Elephant Calf is a Conservation Success

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At Zoo Vienna, the wait is over: after a lengthy gestation period of 645 days, Tonga the African Elephant brought a baby into the world. The little pachyderm, born on September 4, is a female.  She follows her mother's every step with clumsy feet, and nurses about every half hour. Zoo Staff have picked out three names to chose from but haven't decided on the perfect one yet. 

This is the second offspring for 28-year-old Tonga, who has lived at the zoo since 1998. Her first calf was born in 2003.  Says Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter, "Tonga is the matriarch of our herd and generally a very balanced animal."  She is devoted and caring mother, and will be raising for her own baby. For now, Tonga and her calf will live separate from the rest of the herd, to ensure that they will be able to bond and rest together. 

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Photo credits: Zoo Vienna

For Zoo Vienna, the coordinator of the European studbook for African Elephants, this is the fourth birth. Worldwide, the little elephant is a sensation: she is the first calf conceived through artificial insemination using frozen semen. The father is a wild bull from the Phinda Gamer Reserve in Africa, who was placed under general anesthesia for the collection.  

Artificial insemination is now routine in African Elephant breeding - but only with fresh or chilled semen. To transport the sperm of a wild bull of Africa in a European zoo, but it had to be frozen. But the sperm of elephants are extremely sensitive: only two cases using frozen and thawed sperm had resulted in a fertilization, and both pregnancies ended early. The successful new technique was developed by a team from the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. 

This new method is a great opportunity: it can be used to help strengthen the genetics of not only elephants, but of other endangered species in captivity as well. This little elephant is a positive result of a successful collaboration between the Vienna Zoo and Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), the Zooparc de Beauval and the Pittsburgh Zoo.


Fort Worth Zoo's Asian Elephant Herd Grows, Again!

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On August 5, Fort Worth Zoo celebrated the birth of its second Asian Elephant calf of the summer (third in the Zoo's history). The male calf, named Bowie, comes just 30 days after Belle, feature last month on ZooBorns. Bowie is born to first-time mother Bluebonnet, the first Asian Elephant born at Forth Worth Zoo. Rasha, Bluebonnet's mother, gave birth to Belle. Bowie's birth makes Rasha a grandmother and Belle an aunt. The Zoo now houses three generations of elephants! The multigenerational family mimics the way herds are established in the wild. Fort Worth is home to 7 Asian Elephants total; there are 4 females and 3 males.

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Bowie's name is a familiar one to Texans. Jim Bowie was a legendary figure of the American frontier. He played a prominent role in the Texas Revolution and eventually died at the Alamo.

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Foth Worth Zoo established breeding program in 1986 and has become an international leader in elephant conservation. Zoo Executive Director Michael Fouraker served as the president of the International Elephant Foundation (IEF) for nine years and currently serves on the organization’s board of directors and as president-elect of the board. Asian Elephants have been endagered since 1967, threatened by habitat destruction and poaching for ivory.

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At Ramat Gan Safari, Mother and Grandmother Asian Elephants Raise Calf Together

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When the elephant keepers at Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel arrived on the morning of August 2, they found a newborn Asian Elephant calf. After 22 months of anticipation, it finally happened- the 7 year-old cow, La Belle, had given birth to a beautiful female. The calf has been given the Sanskrit name Latangi, meaning 'thin girl', because she was born weighing 70-80 kg, far less than the 100 kg that is usual for an Asian Elephant calf. 

For now it seems that the young calf is doing well, despite her low weight at birth. She nurses from both her mother and her grandmother. 25 year-old La Petite, La Belle's mother, is very active in the life of the newborn, and is also pregnant herself. This is La Belle's first time to give birth, and it may be that her mother is trying to show her the ropes. The pleased father is a 53 year-old male, Motek. This birth is an important occasion as Asian Elephants are an endangered species. Every calf born contributes to the conservation efforts of these animals. 

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Photo credits: Ramat Gan Safari / Tibor Jager. Last picture: Yael Hermon. Clip 1: Tibor Jager. Clip 2: Yael Hermon.

See videos of the newborn calf with her family:

 

 

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Splish Splash, Belle Takes a Bath

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Belle, a female Asian Elephant calf born on July 7, recently got in some serious playtime with a hose and inflatable kiddie pool at the Fort Worth Zoo.

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Photo Credit:  Fort Worth Zoo

 

Belle’s arrival was chronicled on ZooBorns last month.  She received her name through an online voting contest organized by the zoo.  Belle is named for bluebells, which are common Texas wildflowers that symbolize humility and gratitude. She is only the second Elephant calf ever born at the Fort Worth Zoo.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Poaching of the males for their ivory tusks, habitat loss, and human settlement continue to threaten the species.  Belle is an important addition to the zoo population because zoo birthrates are very low.

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Little Elephant Meets Big Athlete

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An oldie but goodie... last year this two-week-old orphaned African Elephant named Kinango bonded with retired professional basketball player Yao Ming on the athlete’s visit to Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage in Kenya.

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Photo Credit:  Kristian Schmidt for WildAid

Kinango was one of more than 150 orphaned Elephants fostered at the orphanage since its founding in 1977.  The calves often come to the facility after their parents are killed for the ivory trade.  Elephants are also under intense pressure from nearby human settlements, human conflict, deforestation, and drought. 

Once the calves are ready to live independently, a process that can take years, they are reintegrated with the herds at nearby Tsavo National Park.  Many of the once-orphaned calves have gone on to produce their own healthy offspring. 

Yao Ming's 2012 trip journey through Africa helped raise awareness of the poaching crisis facing Elephants and Rhinos.  Daphne Sheldrick’s Elephant Orphanage is part of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

See more photos of Kinango below the fold.

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