It's Pool Time for Lily the Baby Elephant!

10382337_10152170705216109_2175553080066726608_oLily, a one-and-a-half-year-old Asian Elephant, enjoyed some splash time with the entire herd this week at the Oregon Zoo.

10460907_10152170708686109_3506961265514086908_oPhoto Credit:  Shervin Hess

The Oregon Zoo’s Elephant herd includes Lily, her mother Rose-Tu, her father Tusko, brother Samudra, adult males Rama and Packy, and adult females Chendra and Sung-Surin.

Elephants regularly enter lakes and rivers to drink, bathe, and play.  Elephants are also good swimmers!  They paddle with their legs and use their trunks as snorkels.  Elephants are rarely far from fresh water, and drink up to 50 gallons of water a day.

Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Once ranging across Southeast Asia, their habitat is now fragmented due to extensive development for agriculture and a growing human population.  

Baby Elephant Makes Public Debut At Howletts Wild Animal Park

Baby elephant at Howletts Wild Animal Park c Dave Rolfe 1

Keepers at Howletts Wild Animal Park are celebrating the birth of an adorable baby Elephant.  Born just over a week ago, the calf and her mother Tammi are both reported to be doing well.

Damian Aspinall, Chairman of The Aspinall Foundation, the conservation charity that works closely with Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks, tweeted pictures of the female calf, just hours after birth and said: ‘Had our 22ndele birth at Howletts today. Prob a little girl. Only 33 born in UK total, so very happy.’

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The calf brings the herd number at the wild animal park, near Canterbury to 13 and cements the park’s reputation for being one of the most successful breeders of African Elephants in Europe .

Damian also tweeted: ‘Amazing to think 2 out of 3 eles born in UK are born here at Howletts.’

Howletts cares for the largest herd of African Elephants in the UK including bull Elephant Jums who stands at over 11 feet tall and weighs around 6100kg, a stark contrast to the tiny new arrival. Father to 18 offspring, Jums is now 37 years old.

Natalie Boyd, Head of Elephant Section said:  ‘We are delighted to welcome our newest member of the herd after a 21 ½ month wait, and are especially pleased with the range of natural behaviours shown by our elephants, who were all present.  Many other females, including all Tammi’s extended family assisted in getting the calf to her feet within minutes and encouraging her to suckle.  This is Tammi’s fifth baby and she is, once again, proving to be an excellent mother, and this time is assisted by Jara, Uzuri and even little four year old Manzi.’

Asian Elephant Calf Has a Muddy Family Playdate

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After a pregnancy lasting almost 23 months, Shanti, a 24-year old Asian Elephant at Houston Zoo, delivered a healthy 385-pound (174.6 kg) male calf on February 7!

The calf, named Duncan, is doing well, and recently had his first outdoor adventure. He spent about 90 minutes outside on February 10, spending some quality mud-time with his mom Shanti, his Aunt Methai, his half-brother Baylor, half-sister Tupelo, and Tupelo’s mother Tess. 

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Ele 3Photo credit: Houston Zoo / Stephanie Adams

It takes a lot of work to get ready for an elephant birth. Attended by the Houston Zoo’s elephant care team and assisted by the zoo’s veterinary staff, Shanti delivered her baby at 2:13 a.m. on February 7.

“After months of preparation and tender loving care, Shanti’s labor was very brief and the delivery was  quick and easy for her,” said Houston Zoo Large Mammal Curator Daryl Hoffman.  “The keepers helped the calf to his feet and he was standing on his own within about an hour after his birth,” he added.

“The calf started nursing at nine this morning,” said Hoffman on the day of the birth.  “In the first 90 minutes after his first meal we saw him nurse more than 15 times.  Duncan has a very good appetite.” 

Immediately after the calf was born, the elephant care team and the Zoo’s veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam. 

“We weighed and measured the calf and took a blood sample.” said Houston Zoo Chief Veterinarian Dr. Joe Flanagan. “Duncan is almost 40 inches (1 m) tall at the shoulder."

Elephant keepers will keep Shanti and Duncan under a 24-hour watch for the next few weeks. The viewing windows in the barn at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat are temporarily closed to the public. The windows will reopen to the public after the elephant care team has seen signs that Duncan is well-bonded with his mother and is comfortable in his new home. Duncan is Shanti’s fourth calf.  Thai, the baby’s father, is 48 years old.

See and learn more after the fold.

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Dedicated Keepers Help Elephant Calf at Ostrava Zoo

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Keepers at Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic are working hard to help care for an Indian Elephant calf born on February 4. The male calf, the second offspring born to 17 year-old mother Vishesh, should have started nursing within the first 24 hours of his birth, but he does not seem to have developed the sucking reflex he needs.  Keepers at the zoo are working to keep the calf nourished and to encourage him to nurse from his mother. 

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Photo credit: Zoo Ostrava

See a video of mother and calf:

Zoo keepers managed to carefully separate the calf from his mother for a short period of time to feed him a daily dose of elephant milk substitute through tubing. Then the calf was returned to his mother. The process is risky for caregivers because the mother elephant is very protective. The tubing must be inserted and removed with great care and skill. Zoo staff hope to do the best for the calf, but must also take their own safety into consideration. They have also tried to encourage the calf to nurse on his own. 

The elephants are being monitored by cameras as well as by two overnight caretakers, who stay on hand to keep an eye on the calf's progress. 

See more photos after the fold.

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Asian Elephant Calf Takes His First Steps at Melbourne Zoo

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An Asian Elephant, named Dokkoon, has given birth to her second calf at Melbourne Zoo in Australia. Born on December 8, the calf is a male weighing in at an incredible 289 pounds (131 kg). 

Dokkoon went into labor shortly after midnight and keepers were on hand to help the young calf to take his first steps within a few minutes of the birth. He suckled for the first time shortly after 7 a.m. and has been feeding with enthusiasm ever since. 

Both mom and baby are doing well and beginning to bond. The calf is the zoo's fourth Asian Elephant birth and a baby brother for Mali, the zoo's first-ever elephant calf, born in 2010.  In the coming days and weeks, the young calf will begin the process of being introduced to the rest of the herd. 

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Photo credits: Melbourne Zoo / Andrew Griffiths

Asian Elephants are an Endangered species, threatened by habitat loss caused by human expansion and conflict. Poaching for ivory is also a major concern. As a member of Zoos Victoria, Melbourne Zoo is a not-for-profit that engages in conservation programs, ranging from captive breeding of endangered species to research and promoting public awareness. You can adopt an animal (like this Elephant calf!) or make general donation to the zoo's conservation initiatives.  

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Whipsnade Zoo Trumpets a New Arrival

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The Zoological Society of London welcomed Max the Asian Elephant calf on October 12 at the Whipsnade Zoo in the United Kingdom.

Measuring three feet (1m) tall and weighing 283 pounds (129 kg), Max was born to second-time mother Karishma and was on his feet within minutes of his birth. 

Max and mum Karishma
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Scott and Max
Photo Credits:  Stefan Groeneveld (1,3,5,6,7); Whipsnade Zoo (2,4,8,9,10)

Keeper Stefan Groeneveld said: “Max is already showing an independent streak. He’ll happily leave his mum’s side to go and play in the paddock with the rest of the herd.  Elephants are very social animals and having youngsters joining the herd is what Elephant life is all about.”

Max shares Whipsnade’s seven acre paddock with nine other Elephants – including brother George, aged three, and half siblings Donna, four, and Scott, two – and is an important addition to the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for Asian Elephants.

See more photos and learn more about Elephants below the fold.

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Ramat Gan Safari Park Welcomes a Second Asian Elephant Calf

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Two female Asian Elephant calves have been born at Ramat Gan Safari Park in Israel. The first female to give birth was 7.5 year-old La-Belle, on August 2. As she is a very young mother, her own mother La-Petite, heavily pregnant herself, took over and nursed the calf. After a few nerve-wracking days of 24-hour monitoring, keepers could rest assured that the calf was getting enough milk, suckling from both her mother and her grandmother alternately. The calf, born a bit small, was named Latangi which means ‘slim girl’ in the Sanskrit language. (See our first story about Latangi here.)  

After exactly two months of anticipation, a second female calf was born to 28-year-old La-Petite. This time the calf was bigger and stronger and received the Hindi name ‘Lalana’ meaning ‘a girl’. Both mothers and calves are doing great. They are spending their days in the exhibit happily, together with the father Motek. The birth of the two calves is wonderful news, especially as Asian Elephants are a unique and endangered species. 

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Photo credits: Tibor Jager / Ramat Gan Safari Park

See video of the calves and mothers together:


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Meet the Two-Day-Old Elephant Calf at ABQ Biopark

After a 22-month wait, the Albuquerque BioPark in New Mexico welcomed a healthy female Elephant calf on October 2.

Photo Credit:  ABQ Biopark

"Rozie and her calf are doing well and are getting to know each other behind-the-scenes," said Rhonda Saiers, Elephant Manager. "She is learning to nurse and getting more steady on her feet. She'll get to meet her sister, Daizy, and grandmother, Alice, within a few days."

The newest addition is the third Elephant born in New Mexico. Rozie was the first Elephant born at the ABQ BioPark Zoo back in 1992. She gave birth to Daizy, her first calf, in 2009. The multi-generation herd includes Rozie, her mother Alice, daughter Daizy and brand new calf. An unrelated female, Irene, is also part of the herd and has been a good auntie. Samson and Albert, two young males, have formed a bachelor herd, and can be seen in yards adjacent to the females. 

"We're proud to be part of Elephant conservation through our breeding program," said Rick Janser, BioPark Director. "Our diverse herd represents how Elephants socialize in the wild, living in groups and raising calves together. These Elephants show how conservation programs can help ensure a future for endangered species."

Asian Elephants are endangered with only 40,000 left in the wild. The ABQ BioPark participates in the Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP boosts Elephant reproduction efforts and promotes genetic diversity to build a self-sustaining elephant population in North America.

The new calf will make her public debut in coming weeks.  Rozie's new calf is an important addition to the Elephant population and to Albuquerque's herd. She will learn how to be an Elephant with the guidance of older Elephants. And Daizy, now 4 years old, will learn what it's like to raise a calf, which will help prepare her to be a mother in a few years.

See more photos of the Elephant calf below the fold!

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UPDATE! Bath-time for Kolmarden Zoo's Elephant Calf

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Photo credit: Kolmarden Zoo

Kolmarden Zoo's Elephant calf, born July 27, is growing up healthy and happy with his family. He especially loves his bath-time, when keepers spray him with a hose! The only thing that could make this scene cuter would be an elephant-sized rubber duckie...

To see photos of the elephant calf at two days-old, visit our first story about the calf here.

Zoo Vienna's Elephant Calf is a Conservation Success

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At Zoo Vienna, the wait is over: after a lengthy gestation period of 645 days, Tonga the African Elephant brought a baby into the world. The little pachyderm, born on September 4, is a female.  She follows her mother's every step with clumsy feet, and nurses about every half hour. Zoo Staff have picked out three names to chose from but haven't decided on the perfect one yet. 

This is the second offspring for 28-year-old Tonga, who has lived at the zoo since 1998. Her first calf was born in 2003.  Says Zoo Director Dagmar Schratter, "Tonga is the matriarch of our herd and generally a very balanced animal."  She is devoted and caring mother, and will be raising for her own baby. For now, Tonga and her calf will live separate from the rest of the herd, to ensure that they will be able to bond and rest together. 

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Photo credits: Zoo Vienna

For Zoo Vienna, the coordinator of the European studbook for African Elephants, this is the fourth birth. Worldwide, the little elephant is a sensation: she is the first calf conceived through artificial insemination using frozen semen. The father is a wild bull from the Phinda Gamer Reserve in Africa, who was placed under general anesthesia for the collection.  

Artificial insemination is now routine in African Elephant breeding - but only with fresh or chilled semen. To transport the sperm of a wild bull of Africa in a European zoo, but it had to be frozen. But the sperm of elephants are extremely sensitive: only two cases using frozen and thawed sperm had resulted in a fertilization, and both pregnancies ended early. The successful new technique was developed by a team from the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. 

This new method is a great opportunity: it can be used to help strengthen the genetics of not only elephants, but of other endangered species in captivity as well. This little elephant is a positive result of a successful collaboration between the Vienna Zoo and Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), the Zooparc de Beauval and the Pittsburgh Zoo.