Zuli the baby African elephant.

Welcome, Zuli!

Zuli with his mom, Ndulamitsi.

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park celebrated World Elephant Day on August 12, 2018, in the best way—by welcoming a new baby elephant! The “little” boy—he weighed 277 pounds—got a big name, Umzula-zuli, so we just call him “Zuli” for short. His mother, Ndulamitsi, took great care of her baby from the very start and nursed him right away. Baby elephants spend about two hours a day drinking from their moms. Newborn calves may look a little clumsy as they work on their coordination, but they are able to walk only 30 minutes after birth!

The elephant herd watches Zuli as he explores his world.

A happy family

The day after he was born, the whole herd wanted to meet the new baby. They took turns sniffing their new herd member, patting him with their trunks, and trumpeting. Everyone celebrated!

A pair of young elephants play with each other.

Elephant playtime

Zuli has other young elephants to play with, including his older brother, Lutsandvo (Luti). As Zuli gets bigger and has started exploring his world, Ndula is getting a lot of help taking care of him. Young female elephants in the herd, Kami, Nisa, and Khosi, all want to be his babysitter. There seems to be a competition to see who gets to spend the most time with the new calf. The herd has 13 members—4 adults and 9 youngsters.

Zuli trying to climb an enrichment toy while Ndula holds onto him with their trunk.

A brave boy

Even though Ndula follows Zuli closely, it looks like the active boy wants to have as many adventures as possible! While mom wants to eat goodies from an enrichment canister, her son wants to climb and explore log piles and see how far you can slide on a pile of hay. Ndula is always watching, and when Zuli gets a little wild, Ndula uses a nudge with her trunk to “help” him remember to be careful—where would we be without our moms?

Zuli resting his trunk on a tree trunk.

Watch Zuli live!

And what will Zuli discover next? You can see him at the Safari Park, or keep an eye on him and his herd on the Safari Park’s Elephant Cam, at sdzsafaripark.org/elephant-cam.