Surprise Baby Elephant Birth on Amakhala

There was great excitement among staff and visitors when a new baby elephant was spotted at Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape.

After 22 months of gestation, a 10-year-old elephant cow, gave birth to her first calf, a male. A baby elephant is the largest newborn land mammal on earth, and Amakhala’s new baby weighs in at a hefty 100kg. He is in great health, suckling well and keeping up with the ever-moving herd.

Credit: Megan Taylor

He was first spotted by Ouboet Zealand, a ranger from Leeuwenbosch Country House whilst on a game drive with tourists from Canada and Germany. “We saw something small move in a herd of elephants, thinking it might be a warthog. But after a guest took a photograph and we zoomed in, we saw it was in fact a baby elephant! It was such an exciting and special moment for everyone!” says Ouboet, who - according to Amakhala tradition - will name the new born, as he spotted it first.

Nikki Ferry Baby Elephant3

Credit: Nikki Ferry

“It is an absolute honour to be able to name the new addition, but choosing a name is not easy. This is the first time I get to name a Big 5 animal!”

“Well-known for their intelligence and caring, the herd shows exemplary teamwork and co-operation in protecting and teaching the new offspring,” says Natalie Fowler, a junior ecologist at Amakhala. “It is such a privilege to witness the mother and grandmother’s concern, touching and guiding the little one with their trunks and helping him to keep up with the herd.”

Mark Palmer   Resize Img 2993

Credit: Mark Palmer