For the first time in its 41-year existence, West Midlands Safari Park is rejoicing over the birth of its first baby elephant.
This monumental event has ushered in a wave of happiness and celebration among the staff and visitors of the park.
The newborn male elephant, born just last week, tipped the scales at a healthy 221lb at birth. The little giant arrived at the park at 5.30 pm on a Monday, marking a memorable day in the park’s history.
This remarkable birth culminated in a 22-month pregnancy for his mother, Five. Interestingly, Five’s pregnancy was not a natural occurrence; it was the result of artificial insemination.
The semen used was retrieved from an elephant in a South African reserve, frozen, and stored in a French laboratory before it was used for Five’s insemination.
In a noteworthy accomplishment, the unnamed male calf is only the second to be born using this unique method. The first was a female elephant born last year at Vienna Zoo.
This groundbreaking technique was a brainchild of a dedicated team from Berlin’s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. They have been closely collaborating with West Midlands Safari Park in their endeavors.
Andy Plumb, who heads the elephant care team at the park, has been looking after Five since she arrived in 1998. Expressing his delight, he said, “This is truly incredible news. The newborn is an absolute delight, just like his mother. Both are doing well.”
He also shared that Five was healthy throughout her pregnancy. Only in the final weeks before giving birth did she appear to be more dependent on the staff than usual. Five’s delivery went smoothly, and she is smitten with her new offspring.
Plumb expressed joy by saying, “We are all overjoyed that both mother and calf are faring well.”
Five has been a West Midlands Safari Park resident since she was six. Orphaned when her mother was shot, she was raised by hand in a private elephant orphanage near Pretoria, South Africa, before making the park in Bewdley, Worcestershire, her home.
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