It’s always a special day at a zoo when a new baby animal is born, especially when they’re part of an endangered species. Each new birth is a sign of hope and step towards ensuring the species’ survival.
Recently, the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska celebrated the arrival of a baby African elephant, an inspiring sign for a critically endangered species.
On August 6, Jayei, the 30-year-old matriarch of the zoo’s African elephant herd, gave birth to a female calf.
“We have been anticipating the birth of Jayei’s calf,” said Sarah Armstrong, the Zoo’s elephant manager, said in a Facebook post. “She is our most experienced mom and was pivotal in the successful births of our first three calves to first-time moms.”
She said that Jayei was “calm and confident” in helping the newborn to her feet. “The rest of the herd seemed very alert, curious and even anxious, but Jayei remained relaxed and attentive to her calf.”
The calf’s father is 22-year-old Callee, who was paired with mate Jayei under a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Elephant Species Survival Plan.
The African elephant is considered a critically endangered species: their population has decreased significantly in the past few decades due to ivory poachers and loss of habitat.
The birth of the new baby calf — the zoo’s fourth — is an inspiring sign of hope for the African elephant.
“This birth is also a celebration of hope for African elephants,” president and CEO Dr. Luis Padilla said in a press release, per 3 News Now. “We are fortunate to have a multigenerational, socially complex African elephant herd with four calves, which is unique to the United States.”
“To see them thrive triggers such strong emotional connections to this species and inspires us to take action to conserve them. We are proud of the incredible and talented team who cares for them, and we are thrilled to share this unique experience with our community.”
The Henry Doorly Zoo said that Jayei was given access to the outdoor habitat just four hours after she gave birth. Though the zoo’s Elephant Family Quarters remain closed to the public, guests can see the herd in the outdoor yard.
In a follow-up post, the zoo said that the newborn was bonding closely with her mom:
Congrats on the arrival of this beautiful newborn baby elephant! An inspiring sign of hope for this endangered species!
Please share this inspiring news if you love animals! ❤️🐘