Learn more about our youngest animals here at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
The newest "princess" at the Zoo – Mavi, an African elephant calf born on July 29, 2013 - has been introduced to all four females in the herd and the outdoor elephant savannah. Mavi can be seen on exhibit in the mornings, playing with her sister Mpumi, (7-months older), and exploring her habitat.
The newborn is the first African elephant calf born in 2013 in the population managed by AZA-accredited zoos and wildlife centers in North America, the second born in Tampa from a herd of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland (Africa) and brought to the U.S. a decade ago, and the third born in the Zoo's 25-year history.
In the closing hours of Wild Wonderland on the eve of Christmas Eve, a wondrous event occurred at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo. A female African elephant named Mbali, one of 11 elephants rescued from culling in Swaziland, Africa, and brought to the U.S. nearly a decade ago, became a mother. Mbali gave birth to her first calf, Mpumi, on December 23, 2012 at approximately 9 p.m.
The African elephant birth is the second in the Zoo's history, and the first born in Tampa from the rescued herd. The newborn, sired by Sdudla, a Swaziland bull, is significant to the population because the calf introduces new DNA into the gene pool of elephants managed in North America, which averages three or four births each year.
From 8,000 miles away, a family of wildlife conservationists in Swaziland, Africa, The Reillys, proposed the Swati name "Mpumi" (pronounced letter M-pumi), which is short for "Impumelelo," meaning success or achievement.
As of November 1st, Mpumi weighed in at an impressive 600 pounds! She is very eager to work with her trainers and has mastered a number of husbandry behaviors for her favorite reward – carrots! She is still nursing, but has developed a taste for apples and bananas as well.
Mavi is still learning to step on a scale, but it is clear that she is growing every day! She has recently become more aware of how her trunk works – especially with water. She loves to initiate play with half-sister Mpumi and can always be found wallowing in mud puddles the morning after a rain.