Asian elephant calf "Kenzi" debuts today - KMOV.com

Asian elephant calf "Kenzi" debuts today

(KMOV.com) -- The St. Louis Zoo's Asian elephant calf, Kenzi, is ready to meet her St. Louis family.

Kenzi will make her public debut on Friday, September 23rd at the elephant habitat at the River's Edge at the St. Louis Zoo. She can be seen from Friday to Sunday at 10 a.m. to Noon and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  After Sunday, the viewing hours may change on a daily basis.

The following information is from a news release from The St. Louis Zoo:

The three-month-old calf will be with her mother Rani and other members of her three generation family. Raja, Kenzi’s father, will also be available for viewing in an adjacent habitat.
 
Rani, age 15, gave birth to the 300-pound baby girl on June 24. Kenzi now weighs over 380 pounds.
 
“Kenzi is thriving under the care of her mother, grandmother and two older sisters,” says Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer. “Rani is an excellent, caring and protective mother, and she has incredible support from Ellie, Maliha and Jade. It is so amazing to watch everyone in the elephant family look after Kenzi. They all take turns playing with her and doting on her,” says Fischer. ”Kenzi is definitely the center of attention for everyone in the herd. Even with elephants, everything revolves around the baby of the family.”
 
During her first days of life, she met her grandmother and older sisters who have warmly welcomed her into the family. The elephant care team has been gradually introducing her to her habitat at River’s Edge.
 
This is Rani’s second baby and the third for Raja. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo in 1992.
 
Kenzi’s name was chosen through a Name the Baby Elephant poll this summer. The Zoo’s elephant care staff selected four favorite female names – June, Zoe, Mya and Kenzi – and invited the public to vote for their favorite. The Zoo received 128,821 votes, and the name Kenzi won with 69,406 (53.88%) votes cast.
 
The Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® for Asian elephants. “Because Asian elephants are so endangered in the wild, Kenzi’s birth is critically important to the collaborative conservation work we do with other North American elephant care facilities,” says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Together AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian elephants to maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as demographically stable as possible.”
 
“There’s no question that the Asian elephant is facing extinction,” Bonner continues. “It’s estimated there are only 35,000-50,000 left in the wild. Besides working with the AZA Species Survival Plan, our Zoo also supports conservation projects for Asian elephants in Sumatra and supports the efforts of the International Elephant Foundation.”

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