Elephants: Calf of Umoya

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Umoya and her son

As many of you know, there were some difficult circumstances following the birth of Umoya’s calf on May 12 of this year (see post, A May Elephant Baby) at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, so it’s been a big relief to their adoring and caring public, their keepers, and our veterinary staff that things have worked out so well for the both of them.

The little guy currently weighs 290 pounds (132 kilograms) as of July 4. He’s figured out some of the social hierarchy within the herd, namely “watch your step” around Swazi. He’s learning to play with half brothers Ingadze, Lutsandvo, and Swazi’s calf, born in April (see Newest Elephant Calf).

Nap time!

Umoya’s son is very easy to entertain if you have a hose in your hand. Big sister Kami shares the babysitting duties with Mom, but for the most part he stays pretty close to Umoya. Because of this, whenever Umoya ventures into the big pool, junior follows right behind her without any hesitation. If the water level is such that he can remain standing, he’s usually right underneath her, dipping his mouth into the pool for a drink or three (he likes to drink). If the pool level is higher, he’ll actually swim around her. If his head goes under, he’s already figured out the trunk-periscope thing, which is just hilarious to observe. He really loves the water, more than any of the other calves have at this age.

If you get the chance to come to the Wild Animal Park, make sure you visit the Elephant Viewing Patio for the 11 a.m. Elephant Rush and also later in the afternoon, when the elephants are more likely to be swimming in the pool. You might be lucky and get to observe a “Baby Pool Party” from a great vantage point. And if Umoya decides it’s time to cool off, you’re sure to see little munchkin #3 sliding in right behind her!

Curtis Lehman is an animal care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.

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