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.”