BIOPARC Valencia welcomes historic arrival of newest elephant

BIOPARC Valencia welcomes historic arrival of newest elephant. Image: bioparcvalencia/Official

CONGRATULATIONS to new mum Matla after 653 days of pregnancy as BIOPARC Valencia welcomes the historic arrival of the newest elephant.

On November 9, the BIOPARC website proudly announced that, after a normal gestation of 21 months, mum Matla had successfully delivered the first baby elephant born in the Valencian park at 4.20 am. After weeks of waiting for the happy event, the team were able to celebrate the safe arrival of their ‘precious’ baby.

During delivery, staff followed a birthing protocol which allowed them to monitor mum remotely via cameras. Between 1 am and 1.30 am, her contractions were seen to be intensifying and a little after 4 am, the healthy baby was delivered at a speed that surprised everyone. For those charged with caring for mum, it was an emotional moment.

The wonderful images of those first hours of life were highly emotional for the technical team ‘watching over’ mum and baby.

During the first few hours ‘el elefantito’ (little elephant) was lively and instinctively looked to mum to feed. Matla, from the first instant, behaved as an exemplary mum, being protective, attentive, and nursing her baby.

This early period of life is especially vital for development and weight increases. Although elephants are born weighing between 80kg and 100Kg, they are still obviously fragile, so caution and care needs to be maintained. As they do with all their elephants, the team are ensuring mum and baby’s peace and well-being.

The reaction of the rest of the troop to the baby’s arrival was a loud trumpet, which was picked up on the monitoring equipment. Everyone seemed to be announcing their interest, curiosity, and enthusiasm for their newest member, who will no doubt prove to be the centre of attention.

For now, the care and behaviour of mum and her precious baby are progressing normally.

This important first Valencia elephant birth is a great triumph and is the product of the Programa Europeo de Conservación de Especies en Peligro del elefante (EEP). It represents the first success after a period of intense work that has been undertaken by the BIOPARC Valencia, which plays a central role in this project’s aims, due to housing 6 female elephants.

To understand the importance of this birth, last year the Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (UICN) changed the status of African Elephants, placing them on their Red List.

This is where the most vulnerable species are listed. At present, the forest-dwelling elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is listed as in critical danger and the elephants housed at the BIOPARC, the savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) are now categorised as in danger of extinction.

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