Luna, Animal Kingdom's youngest elephant calf has just celebrated her 1st birthday.
Luna who was born to second-time mom, Donna, one year ago this past Friday, May 20, weighed 288 pounds when she was born.
With an average weight gain of 2 pounds per day, Luna now weighs a whopping 896 pounds! Elephant team members say that her favorite things to do are playing with the other elephant calves – and in the mud wallow on the Kilimanjaro Safaris – and chasing the native birds that “dare” to enter her habitat.
Luna is the fifth elephant born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition to Donna’s first female calf Nadirah, Tufani, a male, was born in 2003; Kianga, a female, was born in 2004; and Tsavo, the youngest male, joined the herd in 2008. All remain on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
These births represent a conservation milestone because the number of elephants in North American zoological facilities and wildlife centers has been dwindling and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is participating in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Elephant Species Survival Plan.
Research has shown that, when people see elephants and other wildlife face-to-face, they feel a strong connection and are motivated to take action to protect wildlife and nature. Having elephant babies enables our elephants to live in herds with moms, “aunties” and youngsters, as they would in the wild.