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.
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.
See more photos of pachyderm pool time below the fold.
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.
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.
She’s not royalty, but the newest baby at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is sure to capture a “ton” of attention. Just seven months after the Zoo welcomed a new baby African Elephant, another was born - this one on July 29 to first-time mother Matjeka. The other Mom, Mbali, and her 7-month-old daughter, Mpumi, were at Matjeka’s side during her brief labor.
This calf is the second born at the Zoo from a herd of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland, Africa, and brought to the U.S. a decade ago. As with the female calf born last December, this newborn, sired by Sdudla, is significant to the population because the calf introduces new DNA into the gene pool of elephants managed in North America, which averages just three or four births each year. She is the first African Elephant calf born in 2013 in the population managed by AZA-accredited zoos and wildlife centers in North America, the second born in Tampa from the Swaziland herd, and the third born in the Zoo’s 25-year history.
Photo Credit: Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
The new baby got to meet little Mpumi (see above) behind the scenes, who has become a fast friend. For now, Matjeka and her calf will remain off exhibit for further bonding like this and introductions to the rest of the females in the herd before returning to the outdoor yard in full view of Zoo guests.
Read more on this important conservation story, and see more pictures, after the fold:
A male Asian Elephant calf born on
July 27 at Sweden’s Kolmarden Zoo posed
for his first photos when he was just two days old. He weighed 191 pounds (87
kg) at birth, and you can see from the photos that he is strong and hungry!
Photo Credits: Sofia Andersson (2,4,7,10,11) Rickard Sjödén (1,3,5,6,8,9)
The calf’s mother, Bua, was a gift to
the King of Sweden from the King of Thailand in 2004. Bua was artificially inseminated in November
2011. The calf’s father is an Elephant from the United Kingdom.
Asian Elephants are found in
fragmented populations throughout Southeast Asia, where they are listed as
Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are slightly smaller than African
Elephants, and are tamed for use in logging operations in remote jungle
See more photos of the Elephant calf below the fold.
On July 15, Emmen Zoo in the Netherlands welcomed a healthy male Asian Elephant calf. Mother Htoo Yin Aye gave birth outside at 6 p.m. as visitors looked on. The calf is the 25th elephant to be born at Emmen Zoo. He enjoys spending time outside every day with his mother, father Radza, sister, and two older brothers. He is pictured here with his family at just one day old.
The calf weighed about 220 pounds (100 kg) at birth, an average size. It takes a long time to grow such a big baby; the gestation period of an elephant is longer than that of any other mammal, lasting 22 months. They are also long-lived animals, sometimes reaching 70 years of age in the wild. Asian Elephants are an endangered species, living in small, isolated populations in south and southeast Asia. They are similar to African Elephants, but have a smaller body size and more rounded ears, which they use to radiate excess heat from the body. There may be only 30,000 to 50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild. Wide-ranging herbivores, they are important seed-dispersers that help to maintain biodiversity in grasslands and forests.
Fort Worth Zoo announced the birth of a
330-pound, 38-inch tall female Asian Elephant calf on July 7. This calf is only the second Elephant ever born
at the zoo.
Photo Credit: Fort Worth Zoo
Rasha, the zoo’s 40-year-old
Asian Elephant, gave birth to the baby, her second, after a 22-month gestation.
Rasha was carefully monitored throughout her entire pregnancy. As part of her
prenatal care, she received weekly blood tests to monitor progesterone levels,
regular physical examinations, and sonograms. The calf’s father is Groucho, a
43-year-old bull who is currently on loan to the Denver Zoo.
Both mother and calf are in
great condition at this time. The initial bonding between an Elephant calf and
its mother is vital to a successful rearing.
Listed as endangered since
1976, the Asian Elephant is threatened by drastic habitat alteration and the
poaching of male Elephants for their ivory tusks. Because birth rates are low in the wild and in
zoos, the birth of this calf is important to the future of the species.
On May 22, a three-week-old Asian Elephant calf met her fans
for the first time at the Saint Louis Zoo.
Born April 26, the female calf, named Priya, was with her mother Ellie
and older sister Maliha at her debut.
Photo Credit: Ray Meibaum (1, 2, 3); Saint Louis Zoo (4)
During her first days of life, Priya met her aunties
and older sisters who warmly welcomed her into the three-generation family. As an experienced mother and grandmother,
Ellie has provided excellent care for her calf.
This is Ellie’s third baby and the fourth for the baby’s
father Raja, the first Elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo.
The Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the
Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants.
“Because Asian Elephants are so endangered in the wild, the birth of this Elephant
is important to the conservation work we do with other North American zoos,”
says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis
Zoo. “Together AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian Elephants
to maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as
demographically stable as possible.
“There are only between 35,000 and 50,000 Asian Elephants
left in the wild, and they are facing extinction. Given the shrinking
population of Asian Elephants, the Saint Louis Zoo shares a common vision with
other professional Elephant conservation organizations and with our Elephant
care colleagues—a vision that includes Elephants in the world’s future forever,
both in zoos and in the wild.”
Lily, the baby Asian Elephant had a blast in the water with 18-year-old mom Rose-Tu. Now six months old, Lily was born on November 30 at the Oregon Zoo, which ZooBorns covered HERE. Many people are surprised to find that elephants love the water and are natural swimmers. Though their bodies are large, they are quite bouyant, using all four legs to paddle while their trunk acts as a snorkel. These animals are strong and hence can swim long distances.
The Oregon Zoo is recognized worldwide for its successful breeding program for Asian Elephants, which has now spanned 50 years. Lily's grandmother, Me-Tu, was the second Elephant born at the zoo, and her great-grandmother, Rosy, was the first Elephant to live in Oregon.
The Saint Louis
Zoo's baby Asian Elephant, born on April 26, is experiencing new adventures every day as she explores the world under the watchful eye of her mother, Ellie. You saw the not-so-little calf's first baby pictures here on ZooBorns (she weighed 251 pounds at birth!).
In the video below, you'll see the female calf enjoying her first bath, courtesy of a zoo keeper with a hose! You can help
name the baby on
the zoo’s website through Sunday.
Photo Credits: Liz Martin (1), Saint Louis Zoo (2), Stephanie Richmond (3,5), Sarah Riffle (4)
Mother and baby
are not yet on public display, and a debut date has not been set. This is
Ellie’s third baby and the fourth for the baby’s 20-year-old father, Raja.
mother and grandmother, Ellie was, of course, very nurturing, caring for her
newborn baby from the very beginning,” said Curator of mammals Martha Fischer. “She did a great job of
carrying and giving birth to a beautiful baby girl.”
“Elephants form deep family bonds and live in
tight matriarchal family groups of related females so the addition of a fourth
female youngster further cements these strong ties and mirrors the natural
family structure for Asian Elephants found in the wild,” Fischer said.
The Saint Louis
Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)
Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants. “Because Asian Elephants are so
endangered in the wild, the birth of this Elephant is important to the
conservation work we do with other North American zoos,” says Dr. Jeffrey P.
Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Together
AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian Elephants to
maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as
demographically stable as possible.
“There are only
between 35,000 and 50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild, and they are facing
extinction. Given the shrinking population of Asian Elephants, the Saint Louis
Zoo shares a common vision with other professional Elephant conservation
organizations and with our Elephant care colleagues—a vision that includes Elephants
in the world’s future forever, both in zoos and in the wild.”
In addition to
participating in the AZA Species Survival Plan, the Zoo supports the welfare
and conservation of Asian Elephants in Sumatra and other countries in Asia
through the International Elephant Foundation, as well as the conservation of
African Elephants in Kenya.
Also, with Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus
(EEHV) a common health issue for Elephants both in the care of zoos and in the
wild, the Saint Louis Zoo has been instrumental in pursuing the latest EEHV
detection and testing protocols. For several years, the Zoo has joined other
North American Elephant care facilities in actively supporting an EEHV research
effort. The International Elephant Foundation is facilitating this study
to find a cure.
Late on Friday night, April 26, Ellie, the Saint Louis Zoo's 42-year-old Asian Elephant, gave birth to a baby girl. The zoo's veterinarians and elephant caretakers were in attenance of the birth and will continue to monitor the baby's health. The calf is about 38 inches tall and weighs 251 pounds. Both Mom and baby spent the night quietly bonding and are doing well.
For the past two months, zoo staff has been on a 24-hour pregnancy watch. They monitored Ellie's progress with an ultrasound exam and tracked her progesterone levels every day. When Ellie's progesterone dropped five days ago, they knew she would deliver within 1-13 days. Martha Fischer, Curator of Mammals, said, "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around well. As an experienced mother and grandmother, Ellie was very nurturing, caring for her newborn from the very beginning. She did a great job."
Photo credits: Katie Pilgram/Saint LouisZoo
The Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants. Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo said, "There are only between 35,000 and 50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild, and they are facing extinction. Given the shrinking population of Asian Elephants, the Saint Louis Zoo shares a common vision with other professional elephant conservation organizations and with our elephant care colleagues—a vision that includes elephants in the world's future forever, both in zoos and in the wild."
The Zoo will soon announce a naming poll through a news release, social media and its website.
Read more about the Elephant family and the Zoo's conservation program below the fold: