Penzi at One Month

Babies often grow so fast, and one of the best indicators of health is weight gain. The African elephant calf Penzi, short for Mapenzi, has excelled in this category!

She was born weighing 295 pounds — a rather large baby to start with — and has increased her weight in one month to 365 pounds! Along with growing bigger, she has also developed some pretty great skills. In one month Penzi has learned how to move that spaghetti-like trunk so that it is now useful to her! She can pick objects like sticks and hay up with her trunk, and can suck water into her trunk for play. She still has to master the skill of sucking water into her trunk and then moving her trunk to her mouth where she will spray the water to her mouth. But at a month old Penzi does not drink much water, she spends about an hour or more a day nursing — getting valuable fluids and nutrition from her mom’s milk.

Penzi has become so much more coordinated over her first month. Laying down and getting up from a nap used to be almost comical to watch because she did not have great coordination. Sometimes she would try to lay down headfirst nearly squishing her own trunk, or she would have to roll a lot to get momentum going to stand up. Now she is much more graceful. However, there are still lots of fun moments when she is caught by surprise — running quickly to keep up with mom and sometimes stumbling over her own feet. She is still getting used to controlling her body.

Her biggest accomplishment is playing with her family. She follows all members of the herd and interacts with each and every one of them. Her favorite elephant might be her older sister, Nandi. Whether it is because Penzi finds her most interesting or because Nandi tolerates the antics of an elephant calf, it’s hard to say! The two of them spend a good amount of time together relative to the rest of the herd. Every family has members who are more interested in infants and members who prefer to spend time with older kids, and Penzi is lucky to have Nandi as a playmate. As she gets bigger the rest of the herd is sure to join in more!