The Toledo Zoo in Ohio announced the birth of a healthy male African elephant calf. The newborn elephant, weighing over 200 pounds, stood within minutes of being born and began nursing a few hours later. The baby’s mother Renee has so far displayed “excellent maternal behavior,” but zoo staff will continue to monitor the pair ensuring they are both healthy and bonded.
Adult African elephants can weigh up to 6000 kg (6.6 tons) and measure up to 3.3 m (10 ft.) at the shoulder, making it the world’s largest land mammal. In their native habitat of sub-Saharan Africa, African elephants play a vital role in maintaining ecological harmony. They ingest plants and fruits, walk for miles, and excrete the seeds in fertile dung piles. In this way, new plants can grow in different areas and can cross fertilize. In fact, 90 different tree species rely on the elephant for propagation. African elephants also dig holes to expose underground springs. This allows smaller animals to access water in drier times.
To learn more about the Toledo Zoo’s baby elephant, see Toledo Blade.
Learn more about African elephants at Animal Fact Guide.