Newest addition forming a bond with her mother



Photo Courtesy Calgary Zoo


Keepers at the Calgary Zoo continue to monitor the facility’s new elephant calf around the clock.

“Really, the first year is a crucial time. In the wild, about 50 per cent of elephant calfs die.”

The Calgary Zoo’s newest addition is forming a bond with her mother and learning how to use her trunk, but she’s not out of the woods yet.

While the 300-pound elephant calf has been feeding from mom Maharani, Laurie Herron, the zoo’s media relations adviser, said there are still health issues that could arise.

“Really, the first year is a crucial time. In the wild, about 50 per cent of elephant calfs die. We’re watching closely to ensure the baby and mother bond well, but we’re just being careful,” Herron told Metro.

Herron said eight zookeepers have set up cots, sleeping bags and air mattresses in the Elephant Crossing building to ensure mother and daughter are watched 24/7.

“They’re very tired,” she said of the keepers’ round-the-clock monitoring. “But they want to make sure nothing happens. It’s easy for the mom to get startled by her baby,” adding the keepers give Maharani rewards for feeding her calf.

Zookeepers are watching closely because Maharani didn’t fully accept her first calf and it died after only three weeks. This time, the zoo isn’t taking any chances.

“But the keepers say, like mother, like daughter. The baby is very curious, very smart and interested in exploring. Just like her mother. She’s really smart so we think the mother instinct will fully kick in.”

Mom and baby aren’t ready for the public eye quite yet to ensure the calf, born on Aug. 9, doesn’t get stressed.