Tierpark Hellabrunn's Elephant Temi became a mum for the second time last week, and since then the early movements of her new calf have become somewhat of a routine: Otto drinks, explores his surroundings with his little trunk and even lets his mum get some sleep.
On Tuesday, Otto was allowed to explore the spacious indoor area of the Elephant House for the first time - naturally always accompanied and under the watchful eye of mum Temi - where he curiously observed how Temi used her trunk to drink from the large bathing pool.
“The little one is developing splendidly”, says Elephant House zookeeper, Lorenz Schwellenbach. “He moves confidently and already knows how to use his little trunk. Many baby elephants are much clumsier than Otto at this age."
He has also been drinking well from the start. The baby elephant drinks regularly with his mum, about 10 - 15 litres a day. In addition, the zookeepers were able to observe during their night watch that both Otto and Temi have relaxed sleep patterns. “Elephants can sleep while standing or lying down. For the past few nights, Temi has slept lying down, which is a good sign and shows that mother and calf have an optimal relationship so far.
The night watch routine began a few days before the birth to allow the zookeepers to keep a close on maternity events in the Elephant House. But now that mother and child are in good health and getting along well, it is no longer necessary to have staff stationed on site anymore.
In the coming days, the little elephant will continue to explore the Elephant House. On his forays, he will discover a variety of flooring substrates such as sand, asphalt and rubber, and come into contact with water. Otto has even taken a short bath in the small drinking pool. The next step is meeting his aunts Mangala and Panang face-to-face for the first time, which will probably take place sometime next week. "The mood within the elephant group is very positive and relaxed - Otto will certainly be welcomed into the herd," adds Schwellenbach.
The birth of the baby elephant at Hellabrunn Zoo has also been welcomed by a famous German celebrity - namesake and comedian Otto Waalkes congratulated the zoo with a drawing. Zoo director Rasem Baban: "We are of course delighted and very honoured." The name Otto is based on the last wish of a friend of the zoo, who left a generous legacy gift.
Photographs: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller
Videos: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Andreas Kastiunig
Due to the current government restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Hellabrunn Zoo is temporarily closed until 30.11.2020. We are therefore currently unable to hold any press events at the zoo.