A baby elephant has been filmed taking its first steps at Chester Zoo with the help of some older family members. The feel-good footage was captured 18 January – just minutes after the baby boy entered the world.
His mother Sithami would have been relieved to see him after a 22-month pregnancy. As the calf wriggles on the floor, trying to get to his feet, she teaches him how to walk by sweeping her front leg backwards and forwards. Another member of the herd joins in with the demonstration.
Chester Zoo's Andy McKenzie told the Chester Chronicle: "Elephants are hugely sociable animals, so this is an incredible boost to the group.
"Mum Sithami delivered her calf onto deep, soft sand and her instincts immediately took hold as she started to stimulate him, encouraging him to get to his feet by kicking up sand around him. The rest of the herd then excitedly gathered around and within just a few minutes they had helped him up, which was great to see."
It has been a bonanza month for the Chester Zoo elephant team as another calf arrived on 17 December. The UK's most visited zoo is also home to an elephant calf born at the end of 2015.
Chester Zoo CEO Dr Mark Pilgrim said: "Asian elephants are an endangered species, threatened by habitat loss, poaching, disease and direct conflict with humans. We hope that news of her arrival will generate more much needed awareness of these incredible animals and the pressures for survival that they are faced with in the wild."