Staff at West Midland Safari Park are celebrating the birth of their first ever baby elephant in its 41-year history.  

Watch a video of the baby here! 


The bouncing baby boy was born at 5.30pm on Monday, 5th May 2014 after a 22- month pregnancy and weighed in at a healthy 100 kg! The yet unnamed baby African elephant is only the second calf in the world to be born in such extraordinary circumstances.


Mother - 22 year old ‘Five’ - gave birth to the calf following artificial insemination using semen that had been frozen and stored in a French laboratory, after it had been taken from a wild elephant. The technique was developed by a team from Berlin’s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research – an Institute that West Midland Safari Park has worked closely with for many years. The youngster’s father is from the privately owned, Phinda Reserve in South Africa. He is also father to a female calf born in 2013 using the same method and living at Vienna Zoo.
 
Head Elephant Keeper, Andy Plumb, said,This really is fantastic news, the baby is absolutely perfect – just like his mother – and both are fine.  Five has been well throughout her pregnancy and it has only been during the last few weeks before the birth that she has seemed to be a bit more ‘clingy’ than usual towards the staff. The birth was an uncomplicated one and Five clearly adores her new baby.  We are all absolutely over the moon that mum and baby are doing well.  It is incredible to think of the worldwide effort that has been put in to produce such a beautiful new baby and that he does actually have a half-sister. Though of course, it is quite unlikely that their paths will ever cross. This really is such a joyful and very special event for everyone involved with West Midland Safari Park. The new baby is a delight”.


West Midland Safari Park has two female African Elephants and therefore the new baby will have 21-year-old ‘Aunt’ Latabe to watch over him, too.


Both Five and Latabe arrived at West Midland Safari Park in 1998, when they were just six and five years old respectively and measured barely 5ft to the shoulder. Orphaned by the shooting of their mothers at a few days old, Five and Latabe were hand reared in a private elephant orphanage near Pretoria, South Africa, with countless others suffering the same plight.  When the babies outgrew the orphanage, new homes were sought, hence their arrival at West Midland Safari Park. Andy Plumb has cared for both Five and Latabe since the very first day they arrived at the Park 17 years ago.
 

The African elephant trio can be seen in Elephant Valley most days. However, during poor weather conditions the new baby will be indoors.  The reserve covers 5 acres and comes complete with housing, nursery, pastures, pool and naturally a sandpit, which will no doubt provide endless adventures for the new youngster, during the summer.