Second calf adds to baby elephant boom at Dublin Zoo

Lord Mayor says October will be ‘Month of the Elephant’ in honour of new arrivals

 

The birth of a second elephant calf in less than six weeks at Dublin Zoo has been announced.

The healthy male Asian elephant calf was born on Tuesday at 6.24am. He weighed about as much as an adult human at 70kg and is already standing at almost a metre tall.

Leo Oosterweghel, director at Dublin Zoo , said to have two healthy elephant calves born in quick succession was “wonderful”.

He said all the other females in the herd supported the mother as she gave birth. “It was fascinating to watch. She gave birth at night but we could watch through a infrared camera,” he said.

“All the other three females got very excited as went into labour. Some even kneeled nearby to get a good look. They are sniffing, touching and very vocal.

“I live in the zoo and I could hear them about 400 metres away. When the calf was born, they gave him a little nudge and he stood up after seven minutes. It all went extremely well.”

Mr Oosterweghel said the matriarch of the group was due to give birth next month.

“She’s the one with all the knowledge, the leader- elephants are the ultimate feminist society,” he said. “The young will play, interact and grow up together. Elephants are social animals.”

Mr Oosterweghel said the pregnancy for Asian elephants is 22 months and the young fed from their mothers for about five years.

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said to celebrate the arrival of the calves at the zoo, October would be declared “Month of the Elephant”.

This would be a dedicated period to enjoy elephant related activities at the zoo and around the city.

The new calf needs a name and the public have been invited to send their suggestions as part of a competition run by The Natural Confectionary Company.

The herd can be seen on Dublin Zoo’s elephant webcam.

There are an estimated 50,000 Asian elephants in the world, half of the total recorded in 1900, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.

There are celebrations too today in Cork where a two month old giraffe, named Clodagh, joined the herd for the first time at Fota Wildlife Park.

Clodagh had sustained a broken leg during birth and had her leg in a cast for six weeks.

Aidan Rafferty, lead warden at Fota, said it was a delight to see the baby giraffe running with the herd for the first time.