The birth of an endangered Asian elephant has become the ninth arrival attributed to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s elephant breeding programme.

The miniature male Asian elephant was born on September 16 to fourth-time mum Azizah.

The Asian elephant is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to an overall population decline of at least 50% over the past three generations. The species is also under threat from loss of habitat and poaching.

Assistant curator of elephants Lee Sambrook said: “It was wonderful to be able to witness a herd birth at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

“We have a great track record with the elephant breeding programme here, but seeing a baby born with all his aunties and uncles around in such a natural environment was an incredible privilege.

“Elephants are such social animals and you could see that the rest of the herd’s presence was just what Azizah needed to stay calm and do what she needed to do. The team of vets and keepers were standing by and monitoring her development, but it was so fantastic that the birth happened naturally, and with the herd’s help, rather than ours.

“The new-born is already a herd favourite and visitors can see him out and about with his big brothers and sisters in the paddock.”

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