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Baby elephant is said to be 'thriving' after initially being rejected by her mum at Howletts Wild Animal Park
The six week old female was born at night to first time mum Justa. When keepers discovered the new arrival in the morning it had been totally rejected by its mother who was on the opposite side of the enclosure to her new calf. Not only was the calf not feeding, Justa was showing signs of aggression towards her.
The as yet un-named calf was given a special milk formula by the keeping team who had to work on a rota that included 15 hour night shifts. After a worrying start the calf began to visibly strengthen, although keepers were still nervous as she had not received the ‘colostrum’ in her mother’s milk which contains antibodies to help offspring fight infection.
Amazingly, two weeks later it looked like the calf was beginning to feed from her mother, a suspicion which was confirmed by a rapid decline in the amount of formula milk she was taking from keepers. The calf was gradually weaned off the bottle and was able to be cared for entirely by Justa, a remarkable turnaround.
The calf has been slowly introduced to the rest of the herd.
'Myself and the team at Howletts are delighted to present this very special elephant calf to the world. The Aspinall Foundation continues to be a world leader in breeding and conserving rare and endangered animals, both here in Kent at Howletts and Port Lympne Wild Animal Parks and at our pioneering projects worldwide. On the 10th anniversary of my father's passing this latest success story is both a fitting tribute to his memory and a celebration of the future as The Aspinall Foundation continues to go from strength to strength'