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2-Azizah-and-babyZSL Whipsnade Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a male Asian Elephant. The little heavyweight was born on September 16 to four-time mother Azizah in one of the zoo’s large grassy paddocks.8-baby-under-legs-2

3-portrait-Azizah-and-babyPhoto Credit: Dan John
Other members of the herd of ten Asian Elephants were nearby, showing their support for Azizah as her labor progressed. This calf is the ninth Elephant to be born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Assistant Curator of Elephants Lee Sambrook said, “It was wonderful to be able to witness a herd birth at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. We have a great track record with the Elephant breeding program here, but seeing a baby born with all his aunties and uncles around in such a natural environment was an incredible privilege.

“Elephants are such social animals and you could see that the rest of the herd’s presence was just what Azizah needed to stay calm and do what she needed to do. The team of vets and keepers were standing by and monitoring her development, but it was so fantastic that the birth happened naturally, and with the herd’s help, rather than ours.”

The new calf is already a visitor favorite and is mingling with other young male calves in the herd.  

Asian Elephants are native to Southeast Asia, where they are Endangered due to habitat loss and habitat degradation.  Elephants are illegally hunted for their ivory tusks, which are carved and sold as trinkets in Thailand, Myanmar, and other Asian markets.  A growing middle class and increased tourism in the region has fueled the demand for ivory.