Elephant born at Night Safari - first in 6 years - grows the herd to 6 animals

A female baby Asian elephant was born on May 12, 2016, 14 days ahead of the Night Safari’s 22nd anniversary.
A female baby Asian elephant was born on May 12, 2016, 14 days ahead of the Night Safari’s 22nd anniversary.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
The baby elephant is seen having a bath.
The baby elephant is seen having a bath.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
The baby elephant with its mother in the elephant exhibit.
The baby elephant with its mother in the elephant exhibit.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - The Night Safari has received a gigantic early birthday surprise this year, in the form of a female baby Asian elephant that weighed 149kg at birth.

It arrived on May 12, 14 days ahead of the park's 22nd anniversary on May 26.

Animal carers were surprised when Sri Nandong, the park's 30-year-old female Asian elephant, gave birth to the calf in the elephant exhibit during operation hours. They had been aware that it was pregnant, but did not expect the baby to arrive so soon.

According to a media release issued by the Night Safari on Tuesday (May 31), the calf was sired by 39-year-old Chawang, the Asian bull elephant at the park.

The calf is the park's first elephant birth in six years. Typically, an elephant's gestation period lasts between 22 and 24 months, making it the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom. With this birth, the park is now home to four female and two male elephants.

Visitors can view mother and baby at the Asian elephant exhibit from late June onwards.

For now, the as-yet-unnamed calf is familiarising itself with its "aunties" Jamilah and Tun and going on short walks to get used to its surroundings.

The calf has gained 43kg since birth, and now weighs 192kg.