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DSC_0041_CassieGuerraWhat kind of baby weighs 281 pounds and stands three feet tall at birth?  The newest member of Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s Asian Elephant herd!

DSC_0018_JaimeAlvarezPhoto Credits:  Jaime Alvarez (3,7,8,9); Cassie Guerra (1,2,4,5,6)

Eighteen-year-old Mali gave birth to the male calf on Tuesday, May 12.  The calf’s father is 17-year-old Doc.  The calf hasn’t been named yet.

The calf represents the third generation of his family to live at the zoo.  His grandmother Targa gave birth to Mali in 1997.  This calf is Mali’s second offspring.  Another female is expecting a baby later this summer, which will bring to total number of Elephants in the herd to eight.

Asian Elephants are highly social animals, so the calves will thrive in the herd with their mother, grandmother, and “aunties” to look after them. 

The calf’s birth was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Asian Elephants to maintain a high level of genetic diversity in the North American population of this endangered species.  Only about 35,000 of these magnificent beasts remain in the wild. 

See more photos of the Elephant calf below.