SINGAPORE: The Night Safari's youngest elephant, which arrived on May 12, made its public debut on Tuesday (Jun 28).
She is the offspring of 39-year-old Chawang and 30-year-old Sri Nandong, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS). Barely two months old, the still-unnamed baby Asian elephant now weighs 210 kilogrammes (kg), up from an initial 149kg at birth.
The little calf is now part of a herd of three female and two male elephants at the Night Safari.
Caretakers are waiting for the calf's personality to develop fully before choosing a name for her. (Photo: Wildlife Reserves Singapore)
WRS said her caregivers are waiting for her personality to fully develop before choosing a suitable name that reflects the baby elephant's character.
For now, the elephant is starting to enjoy her independence, WRS said.
"She enjoys playing with her aunts Tun and Jamilah. She is especially close to Tun because they share similar characteristics," said Night Safari's deputy head keeper, Novendran Suppiah. "She is not shy at all. She is very playful and active."
The Night Safari's youngest elephant enjoying a carrot. (Photo: Alicia Tantriady)
Despite being born three months premature, there were no complications, said Wildlife Reserve Singapore's Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer Dr Cheng Wen-Haur.
"She is also very anxious to do everything and that is probably why she came out so early," he said.
Visitors can see the Night Safari's first elephant calf in six years from Tuesday, it added.
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As the baby elephant belongs to a species that is endangered, some have expressed concern that it was born into captivity. However, WRS said it hopes to use this opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of wild elephants that are facing challenges such as loss of habitats, and human-animal conflict.
Keepers say the Night Safari's baby elephant is "not shy at all". (Photo: Alicia Tantriady)
"With her around, we can use her as a very attractive ambassador," said Dr Cheng.