Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Asian elephant herd.
The ten elephants share a seven acre paddock at the Zoo, which comprises of five linked outside areas, including a large grass paddock, as well as two separate houses.
Additional facilities include three pools, mud wallows, dust baths and rubbing posts and high feeders.
Emmett is the herd’s only adult male and he is also father to Donna born in July 2009, George born in April 2010, Scott born in 2011 and latest arrival Max born in 2013.
Asian elephant - Elephas maximus
Amazingly, Asian elephants are more closely related to the extinct woolly mammoth than to the African elephant.
The elephant’s tusks are elongated teeth (upper incisors) and tend to be smaller in Asian bull elephants than in the African.
The four grinding teeth (molars) wear out and are replaced by new teeth from the back of the jaws; the elephant gets through six sets of teeth during its lifetime.
Where they live
India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Southern China
Mountains and forest
What they eat
Vegetation, fruit, twigs, small branches, bark and roots
Heavy ele Max joins the herd at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is trumpeting a brand new arrival – a 20 stone Asian elephant calf.
Three-week-old Max was born at 5am on 12 October to second-time mum Karishma, measuring three feet tall and weighing in at a hefty 129.5kg.
The speedy nipper was on his feet within minutes of being born and is already amusing zookeepers as he gets to grips with his tiny trunk and settles into his new home.
Keeper Stefan Groeneveld said: “Max has come on so much in just three weeks and is already showing an independent streak. He’ll happily leave his mum’s side to go and play in the paddock with the rest of the herd.
“Karishma is proving to be an excellent mum and the other elephants are just so excited to be around Max. Elephants are very social animals and having youngsters joining the herd is what elephant life is all about.”
Max shares Whipsnade’s seven acre paddock with nine other elephants – including brother George, aged three, and half siblings Donna, four, and Scott, two – and is an important addition to the European Endangered species Programme (EEP) for Asian elephants.
Classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, the population of Asian elephants is estimated to be just 40,000 to 50,000 in the wild. Their numbers have declined by at least 50 per cent over the last three generations due to habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
Half-brother Scott plays with his new sibling