This endangered baby elephant is doing well after being born last week as it learns to navigate its surroundings under its mother Matla’s watchful eye.
The touching images show the baby elephant, still a little unsteady on its legs, getting used to its surroundings. It can be seen interacting with other members of the herd.
But it likes to keep close to its mum, often sheltering under her tummy and peeping out from behind her legs.
Newsflash obtained a statement from Bioparc Valencia in southern Spain on 17th November saying: “The elephant born in the Valencian park evolves very favourably in its first days […].”
They said that the zoo staff are keeping a close eye on the baby tusker and they are “very excited by the exemplary behaviour of the mother and the rest of the herd in their ceremonious presentation and acceptance of the calf.”
They added that the birth gives them hope and that it took place within an international programme for the conservation of the African elephant, which they said is at risk of extinction.
The zoo said: “Only a week has passed since the birth of a precious elephant shocked the entire BIOPARC Valencia team. But it seems like a long time for a baby of the largest terrestrial mammal because every day is lived with great intensity.
“Every step is an adventure and every moment is a discovery, especially when he is the centre of attention of the entire pack. Moments that show the most tender and at the same time funny side of the behaviour of the ‘little elephant’ and that are generating images full of emotion that the park wants to share.
They said that the baby elephant’s mum is doing particularly well, saying: “The mother is proceeding in an exemplary manner in all aspects. It is especially reassuring to watch how she protects, nurses, pampers and teaches him how to behave.
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“And even more importantly, the way in which she is following the ritual of introduction to the ‘aunts’, who remain expectant and curious before the new member of the herd. A whole process that is being carried out under the strict control and monitoring of the group of professionals from the Valencian park.
“The implemented protocol aims to ensure the maximum well-being of mother and calf, so that each advance is monitored and sets the tone for the next movement. The design of the interior enclosures includes open spaces that facilitate the enjoyment of the beneficial sun and allows the scope of action to be expanded little by little.
“In this way, after the previous and meticulous review of the parent, the offspring continues to explore new areas where overcoming a tiny curb can mean 15 minutes of clumsy steps and immense maternal patience. Everything points to the fact that, if prudent progress is maintained, in the next few days they will be able to begin their outings to the outdoor facility that recreates the savannah.
“The hopeful birth occurs within the framework of the European Conservation Program for the African Elephant (EEP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA). This population is of growing importance for the global conservation of this emblematic species given that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last year increased its threatened status and it is already considered “endangered” in its natural habitat.”
Images obtained from the park last week showed the moment the baby elephant was born, with the park saying in a statement at the time: “This morning [9th November], on the 653rd day of pregnancy and under the influence of the full moon, elephant Matla gave birth in a completely natural way to the first African elephant calf in the Valencian park.”