The San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrated World Elephant Day on August 12, 2018, in the best way—by welcoming a new baby elephant! The “little” boy—he weighed 277 pounds—got a big name, Umzula-zuli, so we just call him “Zuli” for short. His mother, Ndulamitsi, took great care of her baby from the very start and nursed him right away. Baby elephants spend about two hours a day drinking from their moms. Newborn calves may look a little clumsy as they work on their coordination, but they are able to walk only 30 minutes after birth!
A happy family
The day after he was born, the whole herd wanted to meet the new baby. They took turns sniffing their new herd member, patting him with their trunks, and trumpeting. Everyone celebrated!
Zuli has other young elephants to play with, including his older brother, Lutsandvo (Luti). As Zuli gets bigger and has started exploring his world, Ndula is getting a lot of help taking care of him. Young female elephants in the herd, Kami, Nisa, and Khosi, all want to be his babysitter. There seems to be a competition to see who gets to spend the most time with the new calf. The herd has 13 members—4 adults and 9 youngsters.
A brave boy
Even though Ndula follows Zuli closely, it looks like the active boy wants to have as many adventures as possible! While mom wants to eat goodies from an enrichment canister, her son wants to climb and explore log piles and see how far you can slide on a pile of hay. Ndula is always watching, and when Zuli gets a little wild, Ndula uses a nudge with her trunk to “help” him remember to be careful—where would we be without our moms?