Elephant

Safari Park’s Elephant Calves Keep It Fair and Friendly

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Two young Elephant calves at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park enjoyed a high-spirited play session recently. Three-month-old male calf, Umzula-zuli (known as “Zuli”), and almost two-month-old female calf, Mkhaya (called “Kaia”), engaged in some friendly sparring, pushing, climbing, and head-butting!

Zuli was born August 12 to mother Ndulamitsi (pronounced en-DOO-lah-mit-see) and Kaia was born September 26 to mother Umngani (pronounced OOM-gah-nee.)

Keepers report the calves are almost the same size, so they naturally gravitate to each other. The calves’ moms know they are in a safe environment and are allowing them to roam the exhibit, knowing that if the calves stray too far or get too rough with each other, an “auntie” will intercede and make sure they are okay. The two calves have plenty of “aunties,” who help the moms out by alloparenting—a system of group parenting in which individuals, other than the parents, act in a parental role.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to a total of 14 Elephants: four adults and 10 youngsters. The new calves and their herd may be seen at the Safari Park’s elephant habitat and on the Safari Park’s Elephant Cam, at: www.sdzsafaripark.org/elephant-cam.

Photo Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Safari Park


OKCity Zoo's Elephant Mom Gives Birth After Almost Two-Year Pregnancy!

Elephant Calf Kai 28 (1 of 1)

After an almost two-year pregnancy, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is happy to announce the addition of a female calf to its Asian elephant herd. Kairavi, Sanskrit for moonlight, was born Tuesday, October 9, at 11:28 p.m., inside the OKC Zoo’s elephant habitat at Sanctuary Asia. Both mother, Asha, and newborn, Kairavi (Kai), are in good health and are now viewable to guests. Kai’s arrival brings the total number of Asian elephants at the Zoo to seven.

Elephant Calf Kai 19 (1 of 1)

Elephant Calf Kai 23 (1 of 1)

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Elephant Calf Kai 41 (1 of 1) 

Veterinary staff and animal caretakers were present for the delivery and reported the birth required no medical intervention with the entire process taking only 15 minutes. The entire elephant herd was in the inside habitat with Asha during the birth and got to see and hear the delivery, an important component to the herd bonding with the newborn calf. After the birth, vet staff performed a visual inspection of Kai and determined the calf to be strong and observed Asha demonstrating appropriate maternal behaviors. The team remarked that Kai hit important developmental milestones surprisingly fast: standing only 12 minutes post-delivery and nursing after just 40 minutes.

“Asha is an exceptional mother and there is no doubt our new arrival, Kai, will thrive with her elephant family,” said Nick Newby, assistant curator, large mammals. “Not only are we are excited to welcome this new addition to the herd after 22 months of waiting, Kai’s arrival is a testament to the Zoo’s commitment to elephant conservation, and we can’t wait to introduce her to our guests.”

The gestation period for elephants is 22 months, during which Asha gained approximately 1,000 pounds bringing her total weight to 8,500 pounds. During the pregnancy, veterinary staff conducted weekly ultrasounds and daily hormone level testing. When they noted a large drop in Asha’s progesterone levels on Monday, October 8, they knew Kai’s arrival was imminent. During the latter months of her pregnancy, animal caretakers provided extra comfort for Asha in the form of large sand piles, where she could lay comfortably for a good night’s sleep. She also participated in birth practice with her caretakers on a weekly basis and continued to exercise with the herd.

This is the third elephant calf born at the OKC Zoo and the third offspring for mother Asha, 23, who arrived in 2008 from Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, MO. Father Rex, 50, came to the Zoo in 2011 from Canada’s African Lion Safari. The pair produced Achara, 3, in 2014. The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Asian elephant herd also includes: Kandula, 17; Bamboo, 51; and Chandra, 22.

The OKC Zoo participates in the Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Asian elephants are endangered and their African counterparts are vulnerable. Currently, the greatest threats to Asian elephants are habitat destruction and human-elephant conflict. About 60 percent of the total human population lives in Asia, and this population has nearly quadrupled in the last century. As human needs increase, more natural land is taken away from Asian elephants in order to build cities, homes, highways, farmland, etc. Habitat destruction is forcing animals, elephants in particular, to come in contact with humans in ways that can cause conflict. 


‘Big’ Little Elephant Surprises Keepers at Safari Park

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A female African Elephant calf was born to experienced mom, Umngani, on September 26 at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The female weighed in at 281-pounds, making her the largest calf ever to be born at the Safari Park. A newborn elephant generally weights 200 to 268 pounds at birth, and the average gestation period for African Elephants is 649 days, or 22 months.

The yet-to-be-named, little pachyderm was introduced to the remainder of her herd on September 28. The Safari Park reported that the other elephants appeared very excited to meet the new baby: ‘rushing to her, and touching and smelling her with their trunks, all under the watchful eye of her protective mother’. The elephant herd includes three older siblings (one of which the new calf now shares a birthday with) and a male calf, named Umzuli-Zuli, who was born August 12 to mother, Ndula.

2_BabiesEle_001_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The Safari Park is now home to 14 African Elephants: 4 adults and 10 youngsters. The adults were rescued in 2003 from the Kingdom of Swaziland, where they faced being culled.

Guests can visit the new baby, her mom, and the rest of the herd at their home in Elephant Valley at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and they also may be seen on the Safari Park’s Elephant Cam, at: www.sdzsafaripark.org/elephant-cam .


Summer Baby Boom at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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There’s been a late summer baby boom at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, eliciting lots of “oohs and aahs” from visitors of all ages.

Among the new baby animals that can be seen at the Park, there’s a Greater One-horned Rhino calf, named Tio, who was born on July 9 to mom, Tanaya.

Also, a male Giraffe calf, named Kumi, was born August 6, and a handsome male African Elephant was born August 12 and has been named Umzula-zuli.

A young Scimitar Horned Oryx can be seen sticking close to his mom at the Park, and a one-month-old Grevy’s Zebra foal enjoys sunning with mom.

San Diego Safari Park visitors may see the baby animals and all the Safari Park has to offer from an African Tram Safari, a Caravan Safari or private Cart Safari.

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4_BabiesOryx_007_LGPhoto Credits: Ken Bohn/ San Diego Zoo Global

Since 1969, more than 37,600 animals have been born at the Safari Park, including 23,000 mammals, 12,800 birds, 1,500 amphibians and 40 reptiles. The Safari Park’s successful breeding programs help conserve numerous species, many of which are threatened or endangered, like the Scimitar Horned Oryx.

Continue reading "Summer Baby Boom at San Diego Zoo Safari Park" »


Calf Born on World Elephant Day Meets His Herd

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Animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are celebrating the birth of a baby Elephant, born just before midnight on World Elephant Day, August 12. The calf, a male, was born to mother Ndlulamitsi, better known as ‘Ndlula,’ without complications and began nursing shortly after birth. 

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EleBoy_002_MedPhoto Credit: Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Safari Park

“Mother and baby were in a small area of the yard, separate from the rest of the herd,” said Curtis Lehman, animal care supervisor at the Safari Park. “This separation, much like what would occur in natural habitats in Africa, allows mom and baby time for bonding.”

The baby Elephant, named Umzula-zuli, tipped the scales at more than 270 pounds—making him the largest Elephant calf ever born at the Safari Park. A newborn calf generally weights 200 to 268 pounds at birth. By late morning, with the baby appearing healthy and well bonded to his mother, animal care staff offered the pair the opportunity to move into a larger area of the habitat with the rest of the herd.

“This morning’s introduction of ‘Zuli’ to the other 12 Elephants in the herd was one of the most endearing animal scenes I have had the privilege of seeing,” said Mindy Albright, lead keeper, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “The other Elephants were clearly excited to meet the new baby—touching him, trumpeting and smelling him with their trunks.”

The average gestation period for African Elephants is 649 days, or 22 months, so Zuli’s birth had been long anticipated. When the Park opened at 9 a.m., guests at the African Elephant overlook were able to see Ndlula and her newborn interacting with the herd. The new baby and his herd may also be seen on the Safari Park’s Elephant Cam.

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 had 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 bioacoustic 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.  African Elephants are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Female Elephant Calf Celebrated as Breeding Success

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Taronga is thrilled to announce the birth of an Asian Elephant calf at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo.

The healthy female calf was born in the zoo’s elephant barn on June 14 to mother Porntip, and was sired by Perth Zoo’s bull, Putra Mas, via artificial insemination in late 2016. The birth sees a new genetic bloodline created in the Australasian region’s Asian Elephant population.

“The fact that this calf is a female, and heralds the beginning of a new genetic blood line for the wider Asian Elephant conservation and breeding program, is a great achievement,” said Taronga Director and CEO, Cameron Kerr.

“I’m delighted to report that mother and calf are doing well and veterinarians are happy with the calf’s progress at this early stage.”

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4_elephant calf dubbo 2Photo Credits: Taronga Conservation Society Australia

The calf was standing on its own within the first hour and is now suckling from mother Porntip.

“We are absolutely delighted by the arrival of Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s second Asian Elephant calf. Experienced mother Porntip is doing a wonderful job and the keepers and veterinary staff are to be commended for their dedication and hard work, ensuring such a successful outcome. Every birth is so important for this endangered species and helps to secure their future,” said Zoo Director, Steve Hinks.

Keepers and vets monitored Porntip throughout the labor and birth of the calf, with staff staying overnight at the elephant barn for the past week to keep a close eye on her.

“Everything went to plan with the birthing process. Porntip and the calf are doing well and are spending time together in the elephant barn and behind the scenes paddock. Porntip is a very maternal elephant and already we are pleased with the attentive and nurturing behavior we are observing,” said Elephant Keeper, Bradd Johnston.

“Porntip gave birth to her first calf, Pathi Harn at Taronga Zoo in 2010 and has since been a very supportive and caring aunty to Sabai here in Dubbo,” said Bradd.

Taronga has now welcomed six elephant calves, across both Zoos, since the breeding program commenced 12 years ago, with four calves born in Sydney and two at Dubbo.

This successful breeding program is just one aspect of Taronga’s work in conserving this species. Taronga is working in the field with governments and conservation agencies in Asia to turn around the decline of Asian Elephants. Taronga also funds wildlife protection units and ranger stations in Thailand and Sumatra to help suppress elephant poaching.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to nine Asian Elephants, following the arrival of bull Gung in early 2018 and now Porntip’s calf in June 2018.

Mother and calf will be given further time to bond behind-the-scenes before making their public debut, and the Zoo will soon be announcing a competition to help choose a name for the calf.

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Elephant Calf Born Three Months Late Gets a Name

Baby elephant born at Chester Zoo three months after due date named Anjan (27)
An Asian Elephant calf born three months after its due date has been named Anjan by zoo keepers at Chester Zoo.

The male calf, born May 17, astonished experts when he was born to mum Thi Hi Way last month following an assumed gestation of 25 months.

Because the typical gestation for Asian Elephants is about 22 months, scientists believed Thi, who was already a great-grandmother and matriarch of the herd, had started a natural resorption process. 

Baby elephant born at Chester Zoo three months after due date named Anjan (33)
Baby elephant born at Chester Zoo three months after due date named Anjan (33)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Hormone tracking originally showed that Thi Hi Way was due to give birth in February, and after her due date passed, she was slowly returning to her normal weight.  

But, despite the unusual circumstances, Thi gave birth to the healthy baby boy and zoo staff say both mother and calf are doing incredibly well.

Mike Jordan, Chester Zoo’s Collections Director, said, “Thi is a wonderful matriarch to our family herd and a really experienced mum. She has successfully given birth to seven calves before, but this time around circumstances were really quite astonishing.”

“We believed Thi had exceeded her normal gestation period, which we were monitoring closely. Her hormone levels, behaviour and drop in weight gave us every indication that she may have been resorbing the calf – a natural process that some Elephants experience. However, nature always has that incredible ability to surprise you and that was certainly the case,” Jordan said.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, threatened by habitat loss, poaching, disease and direct conflict with humans.

Conservationists from Chester Zoo have been working to combat these threats in the Elephant’s native India for more than twelve years, utilising the skills and knowledge developed working with the herd in Chester.

Zookeepers chose the name Anjan in honour of Anjan Nath, one of the leading conservation figures the zoo works with on a project in Assam, northern India, which has successfully eliminated conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

See more photos of Anjan below.

Continue reading "Elephant Calf Born Three Months Late Gets a Name" »


Elephant Calf Named in Traditional Indian Ceremony

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Planckendael’s famous Asian Elephant, Kai-Mook, gave birth to her first calf on Saturday, January 13.

The playful, little female was recently given a name during a very special ceremony at Planckendael. The calf was given the name Tun Kai: ‘Tun’ means Saturday and refers to the day of her birth, and ‘Kai’ in honor of her mother.

This beautiful name was presented during a traditional Indian naming ceremony, during which the Indian priest Chandrakant of the BAPS Temple in Antwerp whispered the name in the calf’s ear. The special ceremony was in accordance with the tradition of Kerala, India, when a baby has his or her name whispered to them 28 days after their birth.

Planckendael asked fans to submit ideas for the name that would be given to the new elephant, and the Zoo received more than 1,700 suggestions. Finally, keepers agreed upon the name that was chosen.

(ZooBorns featured news of the birth in a January 15 article: "Belgium’s First-Born Elephant Welcomes First Calf")

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6_pl8feb18jonasverhulst-naamgevingsceremonie-tun-kai-80-17Photo Credits: KMDA / Planckendael/ Jonas Verhulst (Images 1,2)

First-time mother, Kai-Mook, was born at ZOO Antwerp on May 17, 2009. She was the first elephant born in Belgium, and according to the Zoo, the whole country was “upside down” and in a festive mood at news of her birth almost a decade ago.

Planckendael plays an active role in the international breeding program for the endangered Asian Elephant. Since the birth of Kai-Mook in 2009, RZSA supports the corridor project of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in India. In Thirunelli Valley, in South India, human and elephants compete for the same lands: the people want to live and grow crops, the elephants like undisturbed passage, without coming into contact with conspecifics. In South India, the ANCF corridors (walking lanes) are there solely for the elephants. Elephants try to keep away from villages and this provides people with an alternative piece of land elsewhere to edit. Thus, the harmony between man and animal is restored there.

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, the Asian Elephant has been classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.

 


Belgium’s First-Born Elephant Welcomes First Calf

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Planckendael’s famous Asian Elephant, Kai-Mook, recently gave birth to her first calf! Zoo staff shared that the much-anticipated baby made his entrance into the world sometime between the late hours of January 12 and early January 13.

According to keepers, the baby has a head of hair and has already exceeded the size of his niece, Suki, who was born on Christmas Day. During the delivery, the Zoo’s other female elephants provided support for Kai-Mook, just as they do in the wild.

Kai-Mook was pregnant for a total of 630 days. The baby was soon on his feet after the delivery and has been very active. The calf is very inquisitive, and Kai Mook is proving to be a caring mother to her baby. Zookeepers have not yet confirmed, but they suspect the calf is a boy. If this is the case, he will one day be an important and valuable candidate for the breeding program of the endangered Asian Elephant.

Zoo Coordinator, Ben, related after the birth: "[The calf] is a solid 100 kilos. I am very happy that everything went perfectly… a healthy elephant here…It can now grow together with our Christmas elephant, Suki.”

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3_PL_KaiMookMama_13jan18_JonasVerhulst-5Photo Credits: KMDA / Planckendael 

New mother, Kai-Mook, was born at ZOO Antwerp on May 17, 2009. She was the first elephant born in Belgium, and according to the Zoo, the whole country was “upside down” and in a festive mood at news of her birth almost a decade ago.

Asian Elephants at Planckendael are given Asian-inspired names. Kai-Mook means “pearl” and called the Christmas elephant was given the name Suki, which means “beloved”. The Zoo encourages their fans and supporters to offer name suggestions for the newest calf. The requirements are that it have an Asian influence and start with the letter “T” (each year, all babies born at the Zoo are named using the same beginning letter). Please share your suggestions via the Zoo’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #KaiMookMama. For more info, visit their website: www.planckendael.be

Planckendael plays an active role in the international breeding program for the endangered Asian Elephant. Since the birth of Kai-Mook in 2009, RZSA supports the corridor project of Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) in India. In Thirunelli Valley, in South India, human and elephants compete for the same lands: the people want to live and grow crops, the elephants like undisturbed passage, without coming into contact with conspecifics. In South India, the ANCF corridors (walking lanes) are there solely for the elephants. Elephants try to keep away from villages and this provides people with an alternative piece of land elsewhere to edit. Thus, the harmony between man and animal is restored there.

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India and Nepal in the west to Borneo in the east. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, the Asian Elephant has been classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. The species is primarily threatened by loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching. In 2003, the wild population was estimated at between 41,410 and 52,345 individuals.


Baby Elephant Born on Christmas Day

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The staff at Belgium’s Planckendael Animal Park received an amazing Christmas present: a female Asian Elephant was born on Christmas Day, December 25.

Female Elephant May Tagu gave birth surrounded all the females in the zoo’s Elephant herd, including her sister, Kai-Mook. Planckendael staff called this the “best conceivable delivery scenario.”

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26169455_1828971157145113_6027206929366815055_nPhoto Credit: Planckendael



In Elephant society, the birth of a baby generates great excitement. Female herd members gather around the mother during childbirth and welcome the newborn by sniffing and touching the baby with their trunks. This gathering allows young females to witness childbirth and better prepare them for their future roles as mothers.

May Tagu gave birth after being pregnant for 629 days – more than 20 months. May Tagu’s newborn stood about 25 minutes after birth and held her tiny trunk in the air.

Mom and baby appear healthy, and May Tagu is a caring mother. The zoo staff are thrilled with the successful birth because May Tagu’s first baby, born about two years ago, died of liver failure shortly after birth.

The newborn’s father is Chang, who recently moved to the zoo in Copenhagen. Chang is also the father of two more baby Elephants expected to be born in the coming months at Planckendael. May Tagu’s sister, Kai-Mook, is pregnant, and Phyo Phyo, the mother of May Tagu and Kai-Mook, is also expecting a baby.

All of these young Elephants will be valuable additions to the European breeding program for this Endangered species. The wild Asian Elephant population is threatened by the degradation and fragmentation of habitat, which leads to more frequent conflicts between Elephants and people. Elephants are also illegally killed for their ivory tusks.