Elephant

Night Safari’s Little ‘Princess’ Joins the Herd

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Night Safari’s largest baby of the year, an Asian Elephant calf, is two months old. The female calf is ready to greet her fans and join the adults in Night Safari’s elephant exhibit.

The adorable baby was born to Chawang, Night Safari’s famed four-ton male Asian Elephant, and mom, Sri Nandong.

Chawang is the Singapore park’s biggest animal and has always been regarded as ‘King of Night Safari’. His princess joins five other elephants in the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park. Aside from her parents, the calf’s brother, 15-year old Sang Wira, also resides at the park.

Inquisitive and intelligent, the calf surprised keepers on May 12 this year, when she bounded into the world earlier than expected. Mom had only been pregnant for 19 months, when usual gestation is closer to 22 months.

True to her eager attitude to life, the little one has grown by leaps and bounds. For a start, her weight has increased to 210kg (463 lbs.), up from an initial 149kg (328) at birth. Ever the curious one, she is an avid fan of all things wet, and will never pass up a chance to slosh about in her play pool, following that with a roll in the sand whenever possible.

She is starting to relish in her independence and is especially close to dedicated caretaker ‘Auntie Tun’, whom she regards as a larger than life playmate. Elephants live in herds, which are made up primarily of related females, who will act as surrogate mothers to juveniles in the group. Although unrelated, Tun continues to play this role with much gusto, and is always on hand to watch over the little one.

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4_Image 1_NS baby ele debut_WRSPhoto Credits:Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Yet to be named, the two-month old calf has already received quite the following on social media, having starred in two videos showing her indulging in all things elephant: splashing around in her signature rainbow tub, going for walks, and experimenting on adult food. Her caregivers are waiting a few more months, to allow her personality to fully develop, before choosing a suitable name reflecting her character.

Dr. Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Life Sciences Officer said, “The birth of this female calf is particularly significant as elephants are very slow breeders, and she will contribute towards achieving a sustainable population under human care. She will also play a leading role as an ambassador to help raise awareness on the plight of her threatened relatives in the wild.”

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is native to Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized: E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, the E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, E. maximus has been listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations (estimated to be 60–75 years). Asian Elephants are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat, and poaching.

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Sweet Surprise for Singapore’s Night Safari

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Night Safari, in Singapore, received a gigantically-sweet, early birthday surprise this year, in the form of a 149kg (328 lb.) baby Asian Elephant, born May 12.

The big bundle of joy arrived 14 days ahead of the award-winning park’s 22nd anniversary, which fell on May 26, 2016.

Sri Nandong, Night Safari’s 30-year-old female Asian Elephant, surprised her animal keepers when she gave birth to the bouncy calf in the elephant exhibit, during operation hours. Keepers had been aware that she was pregnant but did not expect the baby to arrive so soon. An elephant’s gestation period usually lasts between 22-24 months, making it the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom.

The latest addition to the herd is the park’s first elephant birth in six years. The calf has gained 43kg (95 lb.) since birth, and now weighs a hefty 192kg (423 lb.). The gentle, yet inquisitive, calf was sired by 39-year-old Chawang at Night Safari. With this birth, Night Safari is now home to three female and two male elephants.

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3_Image 2_NS baby ele bathing_WRSPhoto Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

The calf still relies mainly on mother’s milk, but is starting to use its trunk to explore solid food. Visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian Elephant Exhibit from late June onwards.

For now, the as-yet-unnamed calf enjoys time getting to know the elephant ‘aunties’ Jamilah and Tun, frolicking in a little play pool, and going for short walks to get used to the surroundings.

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is native to Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized: E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, the E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, E. maximus has been listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations (estimated to be 60–75 years). Asian Elephants are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat, and poaching.

In general, the Asian Elephant is smaller than the African Elephant and has the highest body point on the head. The back is convex or level. The ears are small with dorsal borders folded laterally. It has up to 20 pairs of ribs and 34 caudal vertebrae. The feet have more nail-like structures than those of African Elephant: five on each forefoot, and four on each hind foot.

Night Safari, the world’s first nocturnal wildlife park, is a 12-time winner of the Best Attraction category awarded by Singapore Tourism Board. In 2014, the park also received an Exceptional Achievement Award in the Special Recognition category for winning the Best Visitor Attraction Experience award consecutively for three years.

This internationally acclaimed leisure attraction embodies innovation and creativity in products and services, and service quality, thus attracting more than 1.1 million visitors annually. More than 1,000 animals from close to 120 species (of which almost 35% are threatened) inhabit the 35-hectare park.

In line with its mission to promote biodiversity, the park focuses on the captive breeding of threatened species. Over the years, it has bred Malayan tigers, Asian elephants, fishing cats, red dholes, anoas, markhors, bantengs, Malayan tapirs and Asian lions, among other endangered species.

A visitor’s experience at Night Safari is not limited to animals but extends to experiential dining segments with the park’s award winning Gourmet Safari Experience, where visitors dine onboard a tram traversing the seven geographical zones. The park can be explored either on foot via four walking trails, or by tram. Night Safari is part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore and is a designated rescued wildlife centre by the governing authority.

Night Safari is located at 80 Mandai Lake Road Singapore 729826. More information can be found at www.nightsafari.com.sg


Baby Elephant Born After Rescue

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The Dallas Zoo welcomed a big new arrival on May 14:  a male African Elephant born to Mlilo, an Elephant rescued from drought-stricken Swaziland this spring.

The calf stands about three feet tall, and his tiny trunk is just over a foot long. His ears are light pink, contrasting with his darker gray body. He weighs 175 pounds, which is on the low end of the 150- to 300-pound range for newborn African Elephants. A low birth weight isn’t surprising, given the difficult conditions his mother encountered in Swaziland during his 22-month gestation.

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The calf, who isn’t yet named, is active and exploring the barn, although he doesn’t get too far from mom. He’s nursing and vocalizing as expected.

“This birth validates the critical importance of our rescue efforts and why we worked so hard to get these animals to safety as quickly as possible,” said Gregg Hudson, president and CEO of the Dallas Zoo.

The Dallas Zoo collaborated with conservation officials in Swaziland, Africa, and two other accredited U.S. facilities to provide a safe haven for 17 African Elephants. The Elephants had destroyed trees and other vegetation in the managed parks where they lived, making the land uninhabitable for more critically endangered Rhinos. Swaziland managers planned to cull the Elephants in order to focus on Rhino conservation. The zoos’ collaboration to relocate the Elephants was conceived not only to save them, but to support Swaziland’s Rhino conservation efforts.

In a complex process that lasted nearly two years, the Dallas Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo applied for permission from the U.S. government to accept the animals. The permit was granted in January after extensive review, and a detailed move was planned for nearly two months. The Elephants were flown to the U.S. aboard a chartered 747 jet, arriving March 11, 2016.

Mlilo (pronounced “ma-LEE-lo”) arrived in Dallas showing signs of a possible pregnancy, but all tests conducted were inconclusive. Regardless, the Dallas Zoo staff was careful with the day-to-day care of Mlilo, creating positive conditions for her to have a successful birth. 

“This calf will be an excellent ambassador for his species, helping us teach guests about the grave crisis facing Elephants in Africa, and inspiring them to help protect this majestic species from extinction,” Hudson said.

This is the first birth of an African Elephant calf in the United States in nearly two years.

African Elephants face many threats, ranging from human encroachment on their habitat to extreme poaching, which claims the life of nearly 100 Elephants every day.

See more photos of the calf below.

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Prague Celebrates First Elephant Conceived and Born at Zoo

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Staff at the Prague Zoo are celebrating the April 5 birth of a male Asian Elephant, the first to be both conceived and born at the zoo.

Other Elephants have been born at the zoo, but they were conceived at other zoos, and the females were subsequently moved to Prague.  Elephants are pregnant for an average of 640 days.

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Foto_1_L1010502_export – kopiePhoto Credit:  Miroslav Bobek/Prague Zoo

This was the first baby for female Janita and male Tamara.  Keepers monitored Janita closely in the weeks leading up to her due date.  Levels of progesterone were measured frequently – these levels drop to nearly zero when the birth is imminent. 

Keepers were present during the birth and monitored this first-time mom closely.  Though the birth went smoothly, Janita became aggressive toward her calf immediately after the birth.  The zoo’s veterinarians say that this is not unusual in inexperienced Elephant moms and may be attributed to the pain associated with giving birth. To keep the calf safe, keepers pulled him aside while Janita quieted down. 

The baby was then gradually brought closer to his mother, and her behavior changed.  About four hours after the birth, the baby nursed from Janita.

Keepers report that both Janita and her baby are progressing well.  Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to loss and fragmentation of habitat.  Elephants require huge home ranges to survive, so there are frequent conflicts with humans as their ranges shrink.  Elephants are also hunted illegally for their ivory tusks, which are present only in male Asian Elephants, though females may have small tusks present inside the mouth.


Introducing Edgar the Elephant From Tierpark Berlin

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Tierpark Berlin’s smallest pachyderm was born on New Year’s Day to mom, Kewa. He has become a popular resident, and with the help of the public, the little bull calf was recently given a name. More than 4,000 proposals were made, and the new calf’s name is---Edgar!

Edgar is one of seven Asian Elephants at Tierpark Berlin and spends his days under the care and supervision of his 32-year-old mother and older sisters. Ankhor (also 32-years-old) is the father of the little elephant, and has lived at the Prague Zoo since August 2014.

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3_12747357_10153865928925149_8896928712326566046_oPhoto Credits: Tierpark Berlin

The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the only living species of the genus Elephas and is distributed in Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. Three subspecies are recognized: E. m. maximus from Sri Lanka, the E. m. indicus from mainland Asia, and E. m. sumatranus from the island of Sumatra. Asian Elephants are the largest living land animals in Asia.

Since 1986, the Asian Elephant has been listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years. Asian Elephants are primarily threatened by degradation, fragmentation and loss of habitat, and poaching.

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Herd Trumpets Baby Elephant's Arrival

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A baby Asian Elephant arrived to the sound of a trumpeting herd on June 16 at Planckendael in Belgium.

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Baby-olifant-qiyo-planckendael-jonas-verhulst5Photo Credit:  Jonas Verhulst

 

Mom Phyo Phyo delivered her female calf, named Qiyo, surrounded by her five female herdmates and offspring in a special sand-floored stable in the zoo’s Elephant barn.  This scenario mimics the way Elephants deliver their calves in the wild.

In the video below, you can hear loud trumpeting as the calf falls to the ground amid the birth fluids. Her arrival causes quite a stir as the other Elephants reach out to touch the newborn with their trunks.

Phyo Phyo had a normal 22-month-long pregnancy, and her experience rearing four other calves is a huge advantage for the new baby.  Within just 15 minutes, Qiyo stood on her shaky legs, and just a half hour later, she was nursing.  Zoo keepers estimate Qiyo’s birth weight at about 190 pounds.

Phyo Phyo is an excellent mother and protects Qiyo from the zoo’s two playful and curious juvenile Elephants, Kai-Mook and May Tagu. By having the other female Elephants present at the birth, their chances of successfully caring for their own future babies is greatly increased.

Qiyo’s father, Chang, was not present for the birth, which is just as it would be in nature.  Chang is a gentle Elephant and the zoo staff expects to introduce him to Qiyo very soon.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They survive in small fragments of forest scattered across southeast Asia.  

See more photos and video of the baby Elephant below.

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Baby Elephant Is Third Generation At Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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!

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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.

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This Guy Knows How to Make an Entrance

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s new Asian Elephant made a grand entrance into the world and arrived just a few days ahead of the zoo’s ‘Elephantastic Weekend’. 

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ZSL Whipsnade_BabyElephant_3Photo Credits: Natasha Jefferies (1); Jenny Soppet Smith (2); ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (3,4,5,6,7)

The brand new male calf was born September 16th to fourth-time mother, Azizah, in one of the zoo’s large grassy paddocks. Other members of the herd of ten Asian Elephants were nearby, showing their support for Azizah as her labor progressed, including the new calf’s siblings. Under the elephant breeding program, nine elephants have been 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."

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s ‘Elephantastic Weekend’ was held September 20th and 21st.  It was planned to coincide with the world-wide Elephant Appreciation Day, and helps to raise money for elephant conservation and research projects, through fun family activities, fascinating talks, and unforgettable elephant encounters.

The Asian Elephant is native to Southeast Asia from India in the west to Borneo in the east. They are currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.  In the wild, the pre-eminent threats to Asian Elephants are: loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat, and poaching for ivory, meat and leather.

More amazing photos below the fold!

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Third Elephant Calf Born at Dublin Zoo

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There is even more good news from Dublin Zoo with the announcement of the arrival of a third Asian Elephant calf! The healthy female calf was born to mother Bernhardine at 11.45 pm on September 17th, weighing in at 68kg (150 lbs).

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This is the third elephant calf to be born at Dublin Zoo within a 10 week period. The first calf, Kavi, was born to mother Yasmin on July 17th, followed closely by Ashoka, named after one of India’s greatest emperors, born to mother Anak on August 19th.

Paul O’Donoghue, Assistant Director at Dublin Zoo said, “Our latest arrival is a wonderful addition to our breeding herd of Asian Elephants. It was a very quick and calm birth and Bernhardine’s daughter Asha (7 years old) stayed with her throughout. The calf was standing within ten minutes and has been suckling really well. Bernhardine is the oldest female and the herd’s matriarch. She is an experienced mother, and this is her fourth calf. It is just incredible for us to be announcing the birth of three Asian Elephants in the space of ten weeks.  It is an extraordinary achievement for the animal care team here at Dublin Zoo who is very proud of the expanding herd and of the significance of these births for the future of endangered Asian Elephants”.

The Asian Elephant is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. The pre-eminent threats to Asian Elephants today are loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat, leading in turn to increasing conflicts between humans and elephants. They are poached for ivory and a variety of other products including meat and leather.

A naming competition will be hosted on Dublin Zoo’s Facebook page, and the Zoo is calling on the public to suggest a name for the latest arrival based on its Asian origins.

More great photos below the fold!

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