Chester Zoo's Baby Boom Continues with Birth of Second Elephant Calf

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Chester Zoo's Asian Elephant herd got a little larger with the arrival of a second calf in the space of less than 12 weeks... and it's a girl!  After a 22-month gestation, the baby was welcomed into the group at 11:00 p.m. on January 21, by 15-year-old Mom Sithami and eight other elephants. This is Sithami's third baby, so she is an experienced mom. Both she and her calf are doing well -- in fact, the baby was up on her feet within the first three minutes of life.

Tim Rowlands, Curator of Mammals, said, “The natural bonding between Mum and calf -- and the calf with the rest of the herd -- is fascinating and a truly wonderful thing to see. And we just hope that when people come and set eyes on them, they’re inspired to try and do something to help stop the persecution that these magnificent animals face in the wild."

“In India for example," Rowland continued, "elephants are all too often injured or even killed in conflicts with humans because they wander into villages and wreck crops and damage property and the villagers retaliate against them with force. However we run a great conservation program over there, which works hard to put an end to this, helping both man and beast live harmoniously. In fact, not a single elephant has been killed in the villages where we work for over a year! When people come and see our new baby, sometimes unbeknown to them, they’re helping fund this work in the wild. It’s vitally important.”

In December Chester Zoo invited the BBC's Earth Unplugged to meet the herd and cover this birth. You can see Part 1 of the series here, but watch Part 2 of this special report below, where host Chris Howard meets head Elephant Keeper Andy McKenzie to view the CCTV footage of the birth. 

Photo Credit:Chester Zoo

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UPDATE: Lowry Park Zoo's Baby Elephant Finds Her Legs

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A little African Elephant was born at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo on Christmas Eve to mom Mball. You might have read about it HERE on Zooborns. The calf's birth is only the second in Lowry Park Zoo's history, and the first born in Tampa, from a herd of 11 elephants rescued from Africa nearly a decade ago.

Just like it would be in the wild, the herd is maternally based, so as of January 8, the calf has been out in the habitat being looked after by not only Mom, but her two aunts as well. Now, at almost a month old, the little calf is full of energy and curiosity. Each day she makes progress in the task of finding her legs and discovering how her trunk works! When she runs, she even kicks up a little dust. 

Chris Massaro, Animal Department Operations Manager said, "When she runs out there, she'll trip over her own feet. But she's getting her feet under her, she's doing very well." 

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Photos 1 and 2: Matthew Paulson/Photomatt28. Photos 3 and 4: Lowry Park Zoo,

UPDATE: Lil' Lily, Oregon Zoo's Baby Elephant, at One Month Old

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Oregon Zoo's Asian Elephant calf Lily is a little over one month old and has been developing into a joyful, energetic little elephant. You may have read about the baby, born November 30, HERE on ZooBorns. Her public debut was on December 14, when, for limited hours, the public could see her sticking close to Mom Rose-Tu. But even then her personality was evident, earning her the description of a 'spitfire' by her keepers.

Since then, she has grown not only in size but in confidence. She is out for longer hours now with the herd and when not napping, can often be seen skipping, rolling around and playing. She totters in a signature way that has been captured in these stills and on the video below. But she knows she can always return to the safety found under the sturdy legs and bellies of the grown ups! 

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Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo / Michael Durham

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Elephantastic News! African Elephant Born at Tampa Zoo


In the closing hours of Wild Wonderland on the eve of Christmas Eve, a wondrous event occurred at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. A female African Elephant named Mbali, one of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland, Africa, and brought to the U.S. nearly a decade ago, became a mother. Mbali gave birth to her first calf, a female, on Sunday, Dec. 23 at approximately 9 p.m.

The African Elephant birth is the second in the zoo’s history, and the first born in Tampa from the rescued herd. The newborn, sired by Sdudla, a Swaziland bull, is significant to the population because the calf introduces new DNA into the gene pool of elephants managed in North America, which averages three or four births each year.


Photo credit: Dave Parkinson / Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

“The birth of this calf demonstrates the maturity of our African elephant care and conservation program,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, VP and director of animal science and conservation. “Our elephant facilities and experienced staff allow the Zoo to contribute to sustainability strategies for this species, furthering elephant conservation worldwide.”

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Breaking News! Feisty Little Elephant Girl Hits the Ground Running at Oregon Zoo!


The long wait is over. Rose-Tu, an 18-year-old Asian Elephant, gave birth to a 300-pound female calf at the Oregon Zoo at 2:17 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 30.

“We’re all delighted at the arrival of Rose-Tu’s new calf,” said Kim Smith, Oregon Zoo director. “The calf is beautiful, healthy, tall and very vigorous. As soon as she hit the ground — before she was even out of the amniotic sac — she was wiggling. And she’s vocalizing loudly. The first time we heard her, the sound was so deep and loud that we thought it was one of the older elephants. She’s definitely got a great set of pipes, and it looks like she’s going to be a real pistol.”


Photo credit: Oregon Zoo


Learn more about this exciting birth below the fold...

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Not-so-little Bundle of Joy Bounces into Chester Zoo!


The U.K.'s Chester Zoo welcomed a brand new baby Asian Elephant this past Sunday morning. The not-so-tiny male calf was born in the wee hours (exactly 1:39am). First time Elephant mom Sundara and her new baby are doing very well and have already been out for a stroll in their main exhibit area. Other members of Chester's herd include the calf's Grandmother "Sithami", and Great-Grandmother "Thi Hi Way". Asian elephants are classified as endangered in the wild due to poaching and habitat destruction.




Photo credit: Chester Zoo

Update! Baby Elephant at San Diego Zoo Gets a Name

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You may have first read about this new baby African Elephant born on August 28 here on ZooBorns. This little female calf at San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park has just been named! She will be called Qinisa, a Siswati word that means to act with energy, act determinedly, fulfill one’s word, or speak the truth. The name is pronounced (!) EEN-EE-seh (! is a tongue pop instead of a q sound).

Her name is very fitting, as Qinisa has developed fastest of the 12 calves born to the herd. At only one week old she was sucking water into her trunk and using it to pick up objects like sticks. Dexterity like that has not been seen at such a young age among the other calves according to Curtis Lehman, San Diego Zoo Safari Park animal care manager. The other calves only exhibited that skill after at least a few weeks of age.



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Qinisa seems to be spending the least amount of time nursing compared to the others, but she is getting more than enough milk from mom Swazi. Qinisa is averaging a weight gain of 2.2 pounds (1 kgm) per day, having gained a total of 40 pounds (18 kilograms) in her first 21 days of life. 

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Photo Credit: Sand Diego Zoo Safari Park

Beside her quick learning curve, keepers have also observed how other elephants interact with her --whenever mom allows it. Big brother Mac is playing nice; then again, he’d better, or Mom would have a word or two with him. The adult females only interact occasionally, since they know to keep their distance from protective Swazi, the herd’s matriarch.

But the zoo’s two young female babysitters, 6-year-old Khosi and 5-year-old Kami, seem to have the most access to the calf and continue to compete for babysitting rights. They stay with the trio of Swazi, Mac, and Qinisa overnight, so Kami has the upper hand to get more time. Swazi seems to now be taking advantage of the two baby-sitters and wanders away from Qinisa when she naps... but not for long. If Qinisa wakes, Swazi quickly returns to her baby.

Berlin Zoo Welcomes a New Baby Elephant

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The Berlin Zoo is celebrating the safe arrival of their newest baby Asian Elephant, a healthy female. She was born just after midnight on August 12, standing 3.28 feet tall (one meter) and weighing 353 pounds (160 kg), after a 654 day gestation – that's nearly two years! Last week she made her public debut to the delight of the many zoo guests who came to see her.

Asian Elephants are endangered, the major threat being loss of habitat, poaching for their ivory tusks and conflict with human encroachment.


Photo Credit: Zoo Berlin

This is the fourth baby for mother, Pang Pha. Since Mom was a gift to the the zoo from the Royal Thai Government, zoo staff has named her new calf Anchali, which means 'greeting' in Thai. Victor, Anchali’s father, is 18 years old. Like most male Elephants, he has little contact with his offspring. Anchali has been successfully nursing on her own, though it makes her sleepy... In the video below you can catch her napping peacefully afterwards at her mother's feet. 

A First For France: Artificial Insemination Yields a Bouncing Baby Boy


In late July, ZooParc de Beauval welcomed France's first ever African Elephant to be born using artificial insemination. The baby is the only African Elephant to be born in 2012 in Europe. After a 23 month gestation period and only about an hour of labor, mother N'Dala gave birth to a 340-pound 3-foot-tall bundle of joy. As N'Dala had never given birth before, keepers watched with bated breath to see in she would accept her offspring and nurse him. It is not uncommon for a first time mother to reject her baby in the wild, and keepers gave N'Dala plenty of space in the hopes that her natural instincts would kick in.





Named after a South African Volcano, baby Rungwe recently went on exhibit at the ZooParc by his mother's side. Keepers are delighted about the successful birth and N'Dala has been an exemplary mother so far. The successful artificial insemination gives new hope to this iconic species that has had relatively few births in Zoological institutions. Look beneath the fold to see images of Rungwe and N'Dala exploring their exhibit.

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It's a Girl! African Elephant Newborn on Exhibit at San Diego Zoo

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Just hours after her birth on August 28, a baby African Elephant made her public debut at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The female calf was born at 3:39 a.m. to the Safari Park's matriarch, Swazi. The baby was on her feet within a few minutes of birth; her first tentative steps were captured on the video below. The calf was born on exhibit so when the Park opened at 9 a.m., guests were already able to see Swazi and her newborn!

Mom and baby are doing well and spending these first days bonding. They can be seen daily at the Park's elephant habitat or you can watch them live via the ElephantCam on the Park's web site or Safari Park iPhone app. The average gestation period for African Elephants is 649 days -- or 22 months. A newborn elephant normally weighs between 200 to 268 pounds (90-121 kg); this little calf weighed in at 205 pounds (92 kg). 

The Safari Park is now home to 13 elephants - 4 adults and 9 youngsters. The adults were rescued in 2003 from the Kingdom of Swaziland, where they faced being culled. A lack of space and long periods of drought created unsuitable habitat for a large elephant population in the small southern African country. At the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, elephant studies are underway on nutrition, daily walking distance, growth and development and bio-acoustic communication. Since 2004, San Diego Zoo Global has contributed $30,000 yearly to Swaziland's Big Game Parks to fund programs like anti-poaching patrols, improve infrastructure and purchase additional acreage for the Big Game Parks. 

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Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo