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