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Baby Elephant FAQs

elephant babyWhen was the baby born?

The female calf was born at 10:55pm on Wednesday, August 20. Semba’s active labor only lasted 20 minutes, and she was closely monitored by her Keeper team throughout. The baby will continue to have have around-the-clock monitoring until her Keepers decide it is no longer necessary.

How big is the calf?

The baby elephant’s weight was 245 lbs on August 21, the day after her birth. On September 21, she weighed 345lbs. She’s growing fast!

When can we see her?

Starting October 1, she will be on exhibit each morning until about 11:30am. The afternoons will vary according to her energy level, but Keepers will try to have her on exhibit again from 12:30-2:00 if possible. We will do our best to keep the public updated, here, on Facebook and Twitter, about changes as her time on the main exhibit is extended.

What is her name?

Her name is Nandi (Nahn-dee)!

What does Nandi mean?

Nandi is a common siSwati girl’s name, and in the Zulu language it means “sweet” or “fun. This calf has proven herself to be both – capturing the hearts of Tucson residents. With two older brothers, this feminine name also celebrates the joy of welcoming a female calf to Tucson.

Why that name?

Keepers selected two names for our visitors, community and fans to vote on. After five days of voting, and 7,880 cast ballots, Nandi was the winner!  Both names were chosen because of their origin or connection to the siSwati language. All three of Reid Park Zoo’s adult elephants were rescued from Swaziland, and all members of the herd have names connected to this region. Keepers wanted to continue this tradition in honor of the elephants’ origin.

How long will she nurse?

Two weeks after birth, the baby was nursing for about an hour and fifteen minutes per day. Typically, baby elephants nurse exclusively for about 6 months. Then they start testing solid foods, and gradually shift their nutrient intake over the next two years. But they may continue nursing occasionally until they are displaced by mom’s next offspring.