As far as calves go, baby elephants are pretty cute – but this has to be one of the more adorable we’ve seen.
The youngster – still unnamed – is believed to be the first African elephant born in the UK in 2019, at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury in Kent.
She s the daughter of 11-year-old first-time mum Uzuri, who gave birth to her after three hours in labour.
Staff at the private zoo are calling it ‘a brilliant way to start December’.
‘He is already making himself very much at home and meeting the herd, who are even more excited than the keepers here at Howletts,’ said Adrian Harland, animal director of Howletts Wild Animal Park.
Howletts is said to be the most successful breeder of African elephants in the UK, with 24 born there since the park opened in 1975.
Mum Uzuri – which means beauty in Swahili – was herself born at Howletts in 2008. She was the third calf for her mother Tammi, who was brought to Howletts from Tel Aviv in 1988.
He’s said to be the first baby elephant born in the UK this year (Picture: Laura Bird/Howletts/SWNS.COM)
a baby elephant has been born at Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury, Kent.
Since 1975, only 12 calves have been born to the 53 other major UK zoos combined (Picture: Laura Bird/Howletts/SWNS.COM)
Adrian said: ‘Mother and baby are doing well and are being fussed over by the entire herd, especially Uzuri’s mother, Tammi.
‘The little one has already started exploring the elephant yards and lucky visitors who watch patiently may be able to spot him outside.’
The Howletts herd live in an 8.4-acre enclosure in the Kentish countryside.
Their enclosure has been carefully designed by expert keepers and is one of the largest in the UK. This latest addition brings the size of the herd to 13.
The wee fella is very attached to his mum Uzuri (Picture: Laura Bird/Howletts/SWNS.COM)
The gestation period for African elephants is around 22 months.
Calves stay very close to their mothers and drink three gallons of milk every day for two years, but will sometimes continue to suckle for longer.
They can often be seen sucking their trunks for comfort, just like human children suck their thumbs.