Elephant

Handsome Elephant Born at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Baby 1-24-19 by Maria Simmons

A healthy Asian Elephant was born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, on January 15.

The male calf arrived at 5:30am and is the second calf born to female, Mali, and bull elephant, Doc (both age 21). At birth, the baby weighed 268 pounds and measured about 3 feet tall.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is among 30 accredited zoos that participate in the Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

Mom and Baby by Ashley Sheppard

Laying down in hose day 5Photo Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

“Asian Elephants are critically endangered in the wild, so it’s a huge accomplishment to be able to breed them in human care,” Onondaga County Executive, Ryan McMahon, said. “I congratulate the zoo and its dedicated animal care staff, as well as the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine team that assisted them in preparing for this birth.”

“An elephant’s gestation period ranges from 20 to 24 months. Mali’s pregnancy lasted an estimated 660 days,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “After determining the pregnancy was progressing well over a year ago, the elephant care and veterinary team began preparing for a Christmas 2018 due date,” Fox said.

In recent months, the team conducted birthing drills in the elephant husbandry barn, using a life-size inflatable elephant to represent Mali and a giant boat buoy to represent the baby.

Mali started showing signs of active labor at 5:30 a.m. January 15, and the baby was born less than a half hour later. Mother and baby are reportedly both doing fine, and staff will monitor them closely while giving Mali and her newborn time to bond.

The zoo will be posting photo and video updates on its social media platforms so the public can see the baby’s progress leading up to a springtime introduction to the public.

The zoo is in the midst of a construction project to expand its Asian Elephant Preserve from 4.5 acres to 6 acres and improve viewing access to elephants and other species on the Wildlife Trail. The construction is expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.

Asian Elephants are the species the Syracuse Zoo is most famous for helping to save as part of its AZA wildlife conservation mission. Of several thousand zoos and aquariums in North America, only 232 have passed the rigorous inspections required for AZA accreditation. Of those, 30 have Asian Elephants and only 11 have breeding programs for this endangered species.

The new addition brings the zoo’s elephant herd to eight animals, including a three-generation family group that includes Mali and Doc’s first calf, Batu, a male who turns 4 in May, and Mali’s mother, Targa, 35. The Preserve also is home to the calves’ three unrelated “aunties” -- matriarch, Siri, who turns 52 this year, as well as Romani, 41, and her daughter Kirina, 23.

Asian Elephants are classified as “Critically Endangered” in their native habitat in Asia and India due to habitat destruction and hunting and poaching by humans. Only about 30,000 are estimated to remain in the wild.

The zoo’s successful participation in the AZA Species Survival Plan, its state-of-the art elephant care facilities – including a 50,000-gallon elephant watering hole with green infrastructure – its experienced elephant care team and its Cornell Veterinary team set it apart as a model for elephant programs around the world.


Chester Zoo's Top 10 Baby Animals of 2018

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have celebrated an unprecedented number of births in 2018, including some of the world’s rarest and most at-risk species.

1. Precious sun bear cub Kyra is first of her kind to be born in the UK (8)

Sun Bear

Adorable cub Kyra was the first Sun Bear to be born in the UK. Her birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and people around the globe watched Kyra’s first moments with her mom. Kyra’s parents, Milli and Toni, were both rescued from poachers in Cambodia.    

Conservationists estimate that less than 1,000 Sun Bears remain in the wild across Southeast Asia. Deforestation and commercial hunting for their body parts have decimated their numbers.

2. Baby Stevie is the arrival of the decade… for Chester’s chimpanzees  (3)

Chimpanzee

Critically endangered Western Chimpanzee Stevie was the first of her kind to be born at Chester Zoo in nearly 10 years.

Stevie’s birth followed a scientific project, spanning several years, which carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in zoos across Europe. The study confirmed that the troop of Chimps at Chester Zoo is the highly-threatened West African subspecies – one of the rarest in the world – establishing them as a critically important breeding population. It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees now remain in the wild.

3. Elephant calf Anjan astonishes scientists after being born three months after expected due date (2)

Asian Elephant

After an unusually long pregnancy believed to have lasted 25 months, Asian Elephant Thi Hi Way gave birth to a healthy male calf, who keepers named Anjan.

A major Chester Zoo project in Assam, northern India, has successfully found ways to eliminate conflict between local communities and the nearby Asian Elephant population, offering a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.

4. Greater one-horned rhino calf Akeno gives new hope to species (2)

Greater One-horned Rhino

The momentous birth of Greater One-horned Rhino calf Akeno, born to mom Asha, was captured on CCTV cameras at the zoo.

Keepers watched as Asha delivered her calf safely onto to soft bedding after a 16-month-long gestation and 20-minute labor.

At one stage, the Greater One-horned Rhino was hunted almost to extinction and less than 200 survived in the wild. Thankfully, steps to protect the Rhinos were taken just in time and today there are around 3,500 in India and Nepal.

5. Secretive okapi calf Semuliki is a star in stripes (2)

Okapi

A rare Okapi calf named Semuliki arrived to first-time parents K’tusha and Stomp. The Okapi is found only deep in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its highly secretive nature contributed to it being completely unknown to science until 1901.

Despite being a national symbol and protected under Congolese law, Okapi populations declined in the wild by nearly 50% over the past two decades and the species is now listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

6. Tiny forest dragons help uncover new information about the species (4)
Bell’s Anglehead Lizards

A clutch of rare baby  Bell’s Anglehead Lizards – also known as Borneo Forest Dragons – hatched at the zoo, helping conservationists uncover more about the species’ breeding patterns, life cycle and habits.

The Lizards’ wild south Asian habitat however, is being decimated to make way for unsustainable palm oil plantations – a threat which is pushing many species in the region to the very edge of existence.

7. Rare silvery gibbon adds to record baby boom at the zoo  (2)
Silvery Gibbon

The birth of a tiny Silvery Gibbon astonished visitors to the zoo who were able to admire the infant just minutes after its birth. 

Conservationists hailed the arrival of this highly endangered primate, with just 4,000 of its kind now remaining on the island of Java, Indonesia, where the species is now listed as endangered by the IUCN.

8. Fluffy flamingo chicks are pretty in pink  (2)

Flamingos

Keepers were tickled pink by the arrival of 21 Flamingo chicks. Each of the fluffy newcomers was carefully hand fed by the zoo’s bird experts four times a day for five weeks until they were developed enough to fully feed for themselves.

Flamingo chicks are white or grey in color when they first hatch, resembling little balls of cotton wool, and begin to develop their famous pink plumage at around six months old.

9. Tiny babirusa triplets arrive in zoo ‘first’ (3)

Babirusa

The first set of Babirusa triplets were born at the zoo, a huge boost to the species which has experienced a recent population crash on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Once considered fairly common, the rapid decline comes as result of hunting for their meat and habitat loss, which has seen Babirusas disappear from many parts of the island.

10. Black rhino birth a surprise to visitors  (5)

Eastern Black Rhino

The arrival of Jumaane, a rare Eastern Black Rhino calf, left a handful of lucky zoo visitors in shock as his birth took place right in front of them.

Conservationists now estimate that fewer than 650 Eastern Black Rhino remain across Africa – a staggeringly low number driven by an increase in poaching to meet demand for rhino horn, which supplies the traditional Asian medicine market.

The birth of Jumaane is another vital boost to the Europe-wide breeding program which is crucial for the conservation of this critically endangered species.


Help Name The Baby Elephant at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced a naming opportunity for the female Asian Elephant calf born on December 6. The baby is the first Elephant to be born at the zoo in 10 years.

You are invited to help name the calf by voting from a list provided by the Koblentz family in honor and memory of Kathryn Elisabeth Anderson Koblentz. Kathy served the zoo in many roles throughout her life, first as a budget analyst; progressing to Treasurer, President and Chair of the Board of Directors (the first woman to hold these offices); and as both an honorary and active docent at the zoo.  

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Asian Elephant Calf 0402 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Kathy’s husband Bob and his family, in conjunction with the zoo’s animal care team, selected the following potential names for the new baby Elephant:

  • Darcy: inspired by Kathy’ favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen. Kathy and Bob also had a beloved collie named Darcy.
  • Lizzie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth, which is also a name variation of the central character, Elizabeth, in Kathy’s favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen.
  • Ellie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth
  • Kobie: inspired by Kathy’s last name Koblentz

From December 12, 2018 until January 3, 2019, fans can vote for a single name once within each 24-hour period on the Columbus Zoo’s website. The name of the female calf will be announced on the Zoo’s social media accounts and website on January 4, 2019.

The calf and her mother, Phoebe, are now spending some time each day in the Elephant community room for limited hours from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. while still offering them some privacy as they continue to bond behind the scenes. This schedule is determined by Phoebe and her calf and will be adjusted accordingly to best fit their needs.

The soon-to-be named calf is the first Elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years and the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination. Mother, Phoebe, is a 31-year-old Asian Elephant who came to the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with Hank, a 30-year-old male Elephant at the Columbus Zoo, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined through a DNA test with results expected in the coming weeks. Artificial insemination enables an Elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While still a relatively rare procedure for Elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate Elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered Elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range.

The calf joins the herd of six Asian Elephants in the Asia Quest region: males, Hank and Beco, and females, Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy. There have been three successful Asian Elephant births at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history, and all three have been born to Phoebe —this most recent calf, Beco in 2009 and male, Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo. Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Beco and Bodhi.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, Asian Elephants are listed as endangered in their native range across southern and southeastern Asia and are in decline due to various factors, including habitat loss/degradation and poaching. The World Elephant Day organization estimates that there are less than 40,000 Asian Elephants and fewer than 400,000 African Elephants remaining worldwide.

 


Columbus Zoo Sees First Elephant Calf in Ten Years

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On Thursday, December 6, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed the much-anticipated birth of an Asian Elephant in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region. The female calf is the first elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years, and she is the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination.

Mother, Phoebe, is 31-years-old and arrived at the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with 30-year-old, Hank, at the Columbus Zoo, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was also artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined through a DNA test, with results expected in the coming weeks. Artificial insemination enables an elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range.

The new calf joins the herd of six Asian Elephants in the Asia Quest region: males, Hank and Beco, and females, Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy. There have been three successful Asian Elephant births at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history, and all three have been born to Phoebe —this most recent calf, Beco in 2009 and male, Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo. Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Beco and Bodhi.

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3_Asian Elephant Calf 3785 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_Asian Elephant Calf 3827 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area. The Zoo will announce viewing information for guests as it becomes available.

“We are very proud to welcome Phoebe’s calf into the elephant herd here at the Columbus Zoo,” said Columbus Zoo President/CEO Tom Stalf. “Each birth contributes to the global population and sustainability of this endangered species and is one worth celebrating as a sign of hope for the future of these incredible animals.”

Elephants have the longest gestational period of all mammals, lasting approximately 22 months. Over the last several months, Phoebe has participated in regular ultrasounds to monitor the development of the calf through the imaging, as well as blood collections to monitor her hormone levels throughout her pregnancy. Phoebe and the unnamed calf will continue to be monitored around the clock by the Zoo’s expert animal care team to ensure they receive the best care possible.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a long-time supporter of several direct elephant conservation initiatives benefitting both African and Asian Elephants, including annual donations to the International Elephant Foundation and several research projects and grants over the last 23 years. Many of these research projects have focused on improving human-wildlife coexistence and monitoring elephant populations in their native ranges. Zoo visitors also have the opportunity to learn about elephant conservation and how they can contribute to the sustainability of this endangered species at the Zoo’s Elephant Conservation Station inside the “Vanishing Giants” building located in the Asia Quest region.

Continue reading "Columbus Zoo Sees First Elephant Calf in Ten Years" »


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)

Elephant Calf Kai 31

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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