Dallas Zoo Names New Baby Elephant

Elephant reaching out for food at the Dallas Zoo | Image by The Travellers/Shutterstock

The Dallas Zoo has announced the name of its new resident baby elephant.

The newborn elephant was born on February 26, as reported by The Dallas Express. The calf was named Okubili, and he is the second child of Mlilo, which is part of why the Dallas Zoo chose his name. Okubili means “two” in the Zulu language.

Okubili’s birth marked the first time the zoo staff attempted to recreate the elephants’ natural birthing conditions.

In the wild, the mother elephant seeks other female elephants for protection during the birthing process. The whole family might also encircle the mother to protect her. Delivery for elephants only takes a few minutes, and elephants give birth standing up.

Once the calf is born, the mother eats the afterbirth to erase evidence of her newborn from predators.

In contrast, the zoo separates the elephant mother from the herd once she begins the birthing process, but this time, zoo staff brought in another pregnant elephant to be near Mlilo as she labored.

Okubili weighed 290 pounds at birth and is the ninth African elephant at the Dallas Zoo. Calves nurse during the first six months of their life and consume around 2.6 gallons of milk daily.

The news of Okubili’s birth name came just two days before the zoo announced the debut of its new baby warthog, Tikiti. The warthog was born on February 17 and made her first public appearance about a month later.

Tikiti — “watermelon” in Swahili — looked like a melon when she was born, the zoo said. She needed special care from the zoo staff shortly after her birth, which is one of the reasons why her debut in the Giants of the Savanna habitat was delayed, CBS reported.

Okubili has not yet made any public appearances as he continues to get used to his mother and adapt to the herd. The Dallas Zoo will announce when visitors can see the new elephant.

The Dallas Zoo has been very vocal about its conservation efforts through its Take Action Projects and Wild Earth Expeditions.

According to data released in December 2022, just 415,000 African elephants are left in the world, a drastic decline in the past century.

There were roughly 10 million African elephants in Africa in 1913. The amount decreased by 87% from 1913-1979, when just 1.3 million remained. By 1998, there were only 300,000.

The main threats to wild elephants today are poaching, loss of habitat due to land development, and conflict with humans.

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1 Comment

  1. ksm

    How nice! Cute baby. Weighed 290 lbs. at birth.


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