BABY ELEPHANT JOY FOR NIGHT SAFARI’S 22ND ANNIVERSARY

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149kg baby arrives a fortnight before award-winning park’s birthday;
First elephant calf in 6 years was born in the exhibit

Image 1_NS baby ele in exhibit_WRS

Image 1: Night Safari welcomed the latest addition to the elephant herd on 12 May 2016, a fortnight ahead of the award-winning park’s 22nd anniversary. The female calf, which weighed 149kg at birth, is the offspring of 39-year-old Chawang and 30-year-old Sri Nandong. Night Safari visitors can witness the close bond between mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from late June onwards. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE, 31 May 2016Night Safari received a gigantic early birthday surprise this year, in the form of a 149kg female baby Asian elephant on 12 May 2016. The big bundle of joy arrived 14 days ahead of the award-winning park’s 22nd anniversary, which falls on 26 May 2016.

Sri Nandong, Night Safari’s 30-year-old female Asian elephant, surprised her animal carers 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 since birth, and now weighs a hefty 192kg. The gentle yet inquisitive calf was sired by 39-year-old Chawang, the Asian bull elephant at Night Safari. With this birth, Night Safari is now home to four female and two male elephants.

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 her time getting to know her elephant ‘aunties’ Jamilah and Tun, frolicking in her little play pool and going for short walks to get used to her surrounds.

Image 2_NS baby ele bathing_WRS

Image 2: Night Safari’s elephant herd welcomed a baby on 12 May 2016. 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 her time getting to know her elephant ‘aunties’ Jamilah and Tun, frolicking in her little play pool and going for short walks to get used to her surrounds. PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

Image 3_NS baby ele in exhibit_WRS

Image 3: Night Safari’s 30 year old female elephant Sri Nandong, introduces her calf to napier grass. The calf, which was born on 12 May 2016, still relies mainly on her mother’s milk, but is starting to use her trunk to explore solid food. Visitors wanting to see the calf will need to be patient as she will only be out in the exhibit from late June onwards. PHOTO CREDIT: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

NIGHT SAFARI WELCOMES FIRST BABY ELEPHANT IN NINE YEARS

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Singapore, 3 December 2010Night Safari, the world’s first wildlife park for nocturnal animals, was the birth place of a baby giant recently. The first elephant to be born in nine years, it arrived on 23 November 2010 at an auspicious time of 8.08am.

Considered large for a newborn at 1.5 times the average size, the 151-kg calf arrived after 3 hours of labour, making it the fifth elephant to be born at the Night Safari. His mother, Nandong, is 25 years old and is also the mother of the previous two elephant babies – Sang Raja which is currently in Cologne Zoo and nine-year-old Sang Wira which still resides at the Night Safari. The baby elephant is sired by Chawang, the only bull elephant in Night Safari and Singapore Zoo’s collection of Asian elephants. The birth brings the total number of Asian elephants at Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), parent company of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, Singapore Zoo and the upcoming River Safari, to 11.

The active calf, which has yet to be named, is already developing a character of its own. While most baby elephants stick close to their mothers in the early stages, zookeepers have noticed that this brave little one likes to wander from his mother to explore his surroundings.

“These elephants have such unique personalities. They are highly intelligent and self- aware,” said Mr Kumar Pillai, Director, Zoology, Night Safari. “We have been fortunate enough to witness 5 elephant births at our parks, as there can be a 4-5 year interval before a female will breed again. Her pregnancy lasts about 22 months, and she will not mate until the first calf is weaned, and this takes up to 2-3 years.”

Asian elephants are endangered – even more so than their better recognised counterpart, the African elephant – with an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 left in the wild. They are found in the forests of India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Many of them are widely domesticated and are used for forestry, harvesting, or ceremonial purposes.

Habitat loss poses the most serious threat to the future of these magnificent creatures, as a large part of their native homes are being logged and cleared for urban and agricultural development.

WRS has a very successful captive breeding programme and has bred other endangered animals such as the pangolin, Malayan sun bear, the orang utans and many others.

For a video on the birth of the elephant, please click here. The video shows the mother giving birth to the baby and the natural process of the adult elephants removing the amniotic bladder from the newborn.

The young 151-kg calf is the fifth elephant to be born in the Night Safari.

Nandong, the 25-year-old mother, watches closely as the team of zookeepers and vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore weighs the calf.