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Canterbury: New baby elephant arrives at Howletts Wild Animal Park

By Anna MacSwan

An elephant herd has just welcomed its newest arrival.

Keepers at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury discovered that a baby calf was born slightly earlier than expected in the early hours of Monday morning.

The little African elephant weighed an impressive 120kg and was born to first time mother Jama, after a gestation period of around 20 months.

He is also the first calf fathered by bull Coco, who has lived at the park for three years.

The park's animal director Adrian Harland said the jumbo-sized arrival was a "brilliant way to start a Monday morning".

He said: "We knew he was on his way, but we initially calculated that he would arrive a little later than he did.

"Obviously, we're all absolutely thrilled, and the little calf is thoroughly enjoying himself, meeting his new family and being fussed over by the herd."

A Kent zoo's newest arrival. Picture: Dave Rolfe
A Kent zoo's newest arrival. Picture: Dave Rolfe
The calf weighed 120kg shortly after birth. Picture: Dave Rolfe
The calf weighed 120kg shortly after birth. Picture: Dave Rolfe

The youngster, who could top over six tonnes once fully grown, has brought the herd's numbers up to 13.

Line Monange, deputy head of Howletts elephant section added: "Mum and baby are doing very well, supervised by grandmother Masa.

"Although it is early days yet, the little one spent all day bonding with the herd and we're confident that he will soon become a firm favourite with our visitors."

Visitors to Howletts, which is home to the country's largest elephant herd, can now see the calf exploring his new home in the elephant sand paddocks.

For more information go to www.aspinallfoundation.org/howletts.

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