A new baby elephant is finally able to join the rest of its herd. And although the healthy male African elephant calf appears small next to its giant friends and family, this youngster is no runt. The little guy tips the scales at a whopping 270+ pounds.
Baby Umzula-zuli was born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on Sunday. According to the zoo’s Twitter feed, park officials often keep baby animals alone with their mothers for some important “baby bonding time.”
Umzula-zuli—or Zuli, for short—stepped into the elephant enclosure to meet the rest of the herd for the first time on Wednesday.
The zoo posted a video of the grand entrance. Footage shows Zuli taking the first shaky steps in the park’s elephant enclosure, then emerging from between watchful mama Ndulamitsi’s giant legs.
San Diego zookeeper Mindy Albright says the other 12 elephants seemed quite welcoming. The herd lumbered over to the newcomer and sniffed the baby. They swung their trunks around and trumpeted—a sign of elephant welcome.
Park spokesperson Darla Davis says, “They were so excited to see him.” There’s a good reason Zuli’s entrance evoked such enthusiasm: The last baby elephant born at the zoo was in August 2012.
His birth weight of 272 pounds makes Zuli the largest elephant ever born at the safari park by four pounds.
But Baby Zuli isn't just big. He has good timing too. His arrival happily coincided with World Elephant Day.
(AP Photo: Zuli surrounded by the herd at the San Diego Zoo)