A three-day-old Asian elephant is dwarfed by his mother as they play on their grassy paddock.
The baby elephant remained close to his mother’s legs as they were photographed happily wandering around their seven-acre paddock at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
The male calf was born for the fourth time by mother Azizah Tuesday morning – weighing about 290 lbs.
Other members of the ten elephant herd were nearby when Azizah went into labor.
Assistant elephant curator Lee Sambrook said: ‘It was amazing to be able to witness a birth at the zoo.
‘We have a great track record with the elephant breeding program here, but seeing a baby born with all his aunts and uncles around in such a natural environment is an amazing privilege.
‘Elephants are highly social animals, and you could see that the presence of the herd was just what Azizah needed to stay calm and do what she needed to do.
‘The team of veterinarians and custodians were on duty and watched her development, but it was wonderful that the birth happened spontaneously, with the herd’s help, rather than ours.’
Asian elephants grow between 7 to 12 feet tall and can live in captivity for up to 80 years.
They have much smaller ears than their African cousins and can weigh up to 11,000lb when fully grown.
Mr. Sambrook added: ‘The newborn is already a herd favorite, and visitors can see him hanging out and playing with his older siblings on the paddock.’
The newborn elephant has yet to be named.
Under the elephant breeding program, nine elephants were born at Whipsnade Zoo.
Azizah holds the longest pregnancy ever recorded at a British zoo after she carried her baby for 700 days – 84 days longer than average – in 2011.