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Elephant Baby Kibali - Schönbrunn Zoo Has a New Star

Published: August 15, 2019; 08:50 · (Vindobona)

Vienna's Schönbrunn Zoo has just welcomed a baby elephant into the world. The little Kibali was born at Europe’s best zoo. The little elephant measured 90 cm and weighed 90 kg.

The elephant baby's name is Kibali, she's female and she's a calendar star. / Picture: © Tiergarten Schönbrunn / Daniel Zupanc

The eagerly awaited elephant offspring was recently born at Schönbrunn Zoo. The dam Numbi gave birth to her young.

It's a female and everything looks great," says Dagmar Schratter, director of the zoo.

For the 27-year-old Numbi, who moved from Wuppertal to Vienna with her first kitten Kibo in 2009, it is the third kitten after the birth of Tuluba in 2010.

"Numbi is an experienced, calm and above all very caring mother. And it's good that the little one drinks well."

The elephant baby was conceived by artificial insemination with frozen sperm of a wild bull from the Phinda Reserve in South Africa.

The young animal is estimated to be 90 cm tall and weighs about 90 kg.

Newborn elephants can already stand on their legs after a short time - even if they are still a little wobbly. They take their first steps quickly. This is crucial, because in Africa the herd has to move on in search of food.

In Schönbrunn the animals have all the time in the world. Schratter: "The little one tries to keep up with her mother and brags around under her belly. In the next few days Numbi and her kitten will remain in the rear of the facility and are therefore unfortunately not yet visible to visitors. Numbi should be able to adjust to the new situation in peace."

The last young animal of the African Elephants in the Schönbrunn Zoo was Iqhwa, who was born in 2013.

Meanwhile the name of the female elephant has also been confirmed: Her name is Kibali.

Elephant fans could vote on the zoo's website for five days. The names "Kibali" (river in the Congo) and "Dunia" (Swahili: "world") were a close head-to-head race.

In the end Kibali with 40.01 percent was ahead of Dunia with 34.20 percent.

The name "Phinda" was in third place right from the start. 61,017 votes were cast - the majority from Austria, of course, but also from Germany, England, Spain, Greece and the USA.

"Kibali was the favourite of the elephant keepers.

Nice that this name won. It is also a perfect match for Numbis first kittens Kibo and Tuluba", enthuses Dagmar Schratter, director of the zoo.

The elephant baby now not only has a name, but also its own calendar.

While the elephant fans were busy voting, photographer Daniel Zupanc was busy photographing little Kibali.

He has packed the 12 sweetest photos from the first days of his life into his zoo calendar 2020.

Kibali is delightful and photogenic at the same time. "The little one is very active and curious. She has provided many great photographic motifs: she plays with her trunk, rolls in the sand, walks to her mother with her ears up and nibbles on branches," Zupanc enthuses.

The A3 calendar "Kibali - Das Schönbrunner Elefantenmädchen" is available for 14.90 euros in the Tiergarten, in the zoo's online shop at https://www.zoovienna.at/shop/ and in bookshops. KIKO publishing house, ISBN 978-3-902644-25-1