Elephant Calf Learns the Ropes

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Umngani leads Ingadzi, Kami, and Khosi.

Umngani leads Ingadze, Kami, and Khosi.

If you haven’t made it up to the Wild Animal Park to see our new baby elephant, you’d better hurry: he is growing up fast! (See post, Baby Elephant.) At only 3 months of age, Ingadze is almost 400 pounds (180 kilograms) and is quickly learning the tricks to being an African elephant.

Just this past week he learned how to swim in the big pool. Using his trunk as a snorkel, he followed mom Umngani out into the deep end, doggy paddling the whole way with big sister Khosi and half sister Kami there to help. When they are in the shallow end, all the elephant youngsters like to dog pile onto one another; Khosi and Kami, always with a watchful eye, make sure the boys Impunga and Musi don’t play too rough.

Khosi and Ingadzi stay close to Umngani.

Khosi and Ingadze with Umngani.

Each day Ingadze grows more curious about his home. He is constantly picking up sticks and even tries to pick up rocks that are too heavy for him. He seems to enjoy water and learned how to drink with his trunk at a young age. Ingadze has many older siblings to look up to and learn from, but his two favorite pals are big sisters Khosi and Kami. Kami often leads Ingadze away from the adults, as if playing mom to him.

Ingadze, Kami, and Khosi follow Umngani.

Ingadze, Kami, and Khosi follow Umngani.

Ingadze is full of personality and spunk and seems to seek out playtime with the keepers. Being weighed every day to monitor his growth gives us extra time to spend with him, and he seems to enjoy the attention. Positive interactions now lay the groundwork for future training sessions he will receive once old enough to eat solid foods more regularly.

So make sure to come visit Ingadze and his growing family at the Wild Animal Park. Don’t forget your cameras!!!

Laurie Amador and Mindy Albright are keepers at the Wild Animal Park.

Watch the Wild Animal Park’s elephants daily on Elephant Cam.