Night Safari's baby elephant Neha celebrates first birthday

VIDEO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Neha, the Night Safari's baby elephant celebrated her first birthday with presents of hay and fruit salad.
Neha, the Night Safari's baby elephant celebrated her first birthday with presents of hay and fruit salad.PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

SINGAPORE - Neha, the Night Safari's baby elephant, celebrated her first birthday with presents of hay and fruit salad.

The youngest of six elephants at the nocturnal wildlife park turns one year old on Friday (May 12).

The little pachyderm has tripled her birth weight to tip the scales at 527kg and can respond to about 10 instructions, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Thursday.

Aside from responding to instructions such as lifting her leg and opening her mouth, Neha has her temperature and weight taken daily.

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She is also learning to be comfortable with vets drawing blood from her ear, and to accepting oral and rectal administration of medication.

 

These processes will allow for regular monitoring of her health, and ensure that the team can act swiftly should she fall sick.

Young Asian elephants between one to eight years old are at high risk of contracting Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus, a leading cause of death for the juveniles.

"Currently there is no vaccination available, and medication only serves to suppress the growth of the virus. Death frequently occurs within one to two days of the first visible signs, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical to survival," WRS said.

Neha's older brother Nila Utama succumbed to the virus in 2013, when he was two years old.

Neha's daily conditioning sessions are designed as play dates with her keepers, and she can choose whether to participate, WRS said.


Neha's daily conditioning sessions are designed as play dates with her keepers. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

Besides her human carers, the offspring of Chawang and Sri Nandong continues to be doted on by her elephantine mum and aunties.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red list of threatened species.

There are only an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 Asian elephants left in the wild today.