There’s a brand new bundle of joy at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo – but it’s a bit bigger than your average baby.
The nearby attraction is celebrating the birth of the latest addition to its elephant herd, which was born at 7.10am on Tuesday, weighing in at an eye-watering 133kg.
The pint-sized pachyderm is the new arrival of fourth-time mum Azizah, who gave birth in one of the zoo’s grassy paddocks with members of her herd nearby to support her.
Assistant curator of elephants Lee Sambrook said: “We have a great track record with the elephant breeding programme 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.
“The new-born is already a herd favourite and visitors can see him out and about with his big brothers and sisters in the paddock.”
The as yet unnamed – and unphotographed – little heavyweight shows impeccable timing, arriving just in time for the Whipsnade’s Elephantastic weekend taking place this Saturday and Sunday.
Marking the world-wide Elephant Appreciation Weekend, Elephantastic raises money for elephant conservation and research projects, through fun family activities, fascinating talks and unforgettable elephant encounters.
Among the events taking place this weekend are a world-record attempt for the most origami elephants ever displayed, the chance to see the playful pack having a bath and even an opportunity to meet the majestic creatures close up.
There will also be a competition running to name the newest member of the herd.
For more information, visit www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/whats-on/elephantastic-elephant-appreciation-weekend