Celebrating life’s milestones is an important and fun part of raising a baby — even if the baby is an elephant!
The keepers at the Indianapolis Zoo often get to experience milestones in animal development. For them, each baby animal is special and watching the babies grow and mature is always a unique and amazing opportunity.
Recently, the elephant staff offered an update on Kalina, a female elephant born on July 20, 2011, to mom Kubwa. Now 19 months old, Kalina now weighs a hefty 1,158 pounds, a healthy jump from her birth weight of 238 pounds.
Here’s what Senior Trainer Jill Sampson had to say about watching Kalina grow up:
“She is an active and outgoing young elephant who loves to interact with the other members of the herd and seeks out attention from her trainers.
“Trainers were excited to discover Kalina’s left tusk had emerged on Dec. 18, 2012, — a big milestone in an elephant’s development! The right tusk emerged later, on Jan. 27, 2013. An elephant’s tusks are her front teeth and they will continue to grow throughout her life. Trainers inspect Kalina’s teeth every day, which is easy to do as she eagerly puts her trunk up and opens her mouth for tasty treats such as sweet potato and apple pieces (as you can see from the photo).
“Kalina gets a bath everyday with her mother nearby, where trainers spray water over her little tusks to keep them clean.”
Although Kalina is growing at a healthy pace, she is still noticeably smaller than her mom and the rest of the elephant herd. She and Nyah, the Zoo’s other elephant calf, born June 28, 2012, to mother Ivory, are easy to pick out from the crowd on the Elephant Webcam.
Zoo Babies are presented by Community Health Network.
Photos by Shannon Gaughan-Kelly and Jill Sampson.