VIDEO: New Elephant Calf Born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Today, another addition arrived to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, this time in the form of a baby male African elephant. Born early Monday morning, the yet-unnamed calf was filmed today by officials from the Safari Park, as his mother keeps a watchful eye on the newborn.
The mother Umngani (which means “friend” in Swazi, the native language spoken in South Africa by the Swazi people), arrived in the United States in 2003, due to drought circumstances in her original home of Swaziland. Faced with a challenge of potential death by drought, Swaziland’s officials announced two options: adoption by a zoo, or culling the nations elephant herd. The area where the elephant herd was living is home to some grandly historic human history, including prehistoric rock art by early human ancestors dating back to 25,000 B.C.
As an adult, this male African elephant will reach heights of 10-13 ft, weighing up to 10-13k pounds. Another interesting fact is that African elephant brains are larger than any land animal; even the largest whales, which have a mass 20x larger than an elephant, have a brain just twice the size.
Now, the new African calf joins his mother Umngani, her five-year-old sister Khosi, which means “Living Happily,” and his two year old brother, Ingadze, or “Horton” as in the children’s book “Horton Hears a Who!” by the late Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Suess. In 2009, Geisel’s widow, Audrey, donated a total of $2 million to the then-new exhibit, Elephant Odyssey, which opened in May of that year. Detail-oriented Zoo fans will note the trail “Horton’s Way” at the Elephant Odyssey, another nod to Dr. Suess.
Now totaling 18 elephants (10 young, 8 full adults) the Safari Park continues to be a great place to experience African wildlife in Southern California. With this birth, visitors to the park will finally be able to glimpse a calf (average pregnancy-to-term for an elephant is 22 months) though for the time being, the newly-enlarged family is being kept in a separate yard with his mother until he’s able to walk better, bond with mom and fully nurse.