The safari park has been celebrating the birth of a baby elephant in its 41-year history.
The male baby African elephant, now a week old, weighed in at 221lb when he was born on Monday of last week at West Midlands Safari Park. His mother is Five.
He was born after a 22-month pregnancy following artificial insemination from semen that had been frozen and stored in a French laboratory.
The elephant was taken from a reserve in South Africa. The still nameless male calf is only the second to be born in the world using this technique.
A female, born last year at Vienna Zoo, was the first.
The technique was developed by a team from Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. This team has also helped West Midland Safari Park with conservation efforts and day-to-day park operations.
Andy Plumb, a head elephant keeper, has been caring for 22-year-old Five since she arrived at West Midlands Safari Park in 1998.
Since then, Five has been a part of the herd and enjoyed her time playing with other elephants and spending time with her caretaker. She has learned to trust humans again and is happy in her new surroundings.
He said: “This really is fantastic news; the baby is totally perfect – just like his mother – and both are fine.”
‘Five has been well throughout her pregnancy, and it has only been during the last few weeks before the birth that she has seemed to be a bit more “clingy” than usual towards the staff. The birth was an uncomplicated one, and Five clearly adores her new baby.’
Mr. Steve Plumb, said, “We are all absolutely over the moon that mum and baby are doing well”.
Five arrived at West Midlands Safari Park when she was six years old.
Orphaned after her mother was shot, she was hand-reared in a private elephant orphanage near Pretoria, South Africa, before moving to the park in Bewdley, Worcestershire. She has now been living there for over two years and is a vital part of the elephant herd.