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African Elephant Herd Multiplies at San Diego Zoo


Elephants may be falling to the guns of poachers in central Africa, but in the U.S. a survivor of an elephant culling program in southern Africa gave birth to a male calf on Friday at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.

“The unnamed calf bolsters the population of African elephants at the Wild Animal Park to 12,” the zoo said in a caption released with this photo.The mother, Umngani, and calf, in the photo above, will be slowly introduced to the rest of the zoo’s herd over the next several days.

“Keepers and researchers are monitoring the pair to ensure Umngani properly cares for the newborn and to gather important information about calf development.”

Rescued by the Wild Animal Park in August 2003, Umngani and six other adult elephants were to be culled in the Kingdom of Swaziland’s Big Game Parks because of elephant overpopulation, the zoo said. “A lack of space and long periods of drought created unsuitable habitat for a large elephant population in the small southern African country.”

Photo taken March 13, 2009, by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.