Photo gallery for Elephant Baby Boom

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Elephant Baby Boom

Tue, 2011-08-09 10:14 by cmoss

One of our regular visitors asked about the upcoming baby boom. We predict that it will start in December. The last time something like this happened was at the end of 1978. There was a terrible drought in Amboseli in 1975-76 with the result that many calves died and at the same time the females were in poor condition and stopped reproductive cycling. Half of the calves born in 1976 died and only two calves were born in 1977. No more calves were born until November 1978, but from that point on into 1979 and 1980 baby elephants seemed to be raining from the sky.

We are currently at a similar stage as we were in 1977 and 1978 with very few births. So far this year only two calves have been born and one of those was stillborn. All indications are that many, many females are pregnant, possibly more than 200. When rains finally came in December-January 2009-2010 the females began to recover and started mating in February and March. Counting forward 22 months those females who conceived in February 2010 will give birth in December 2011.

After that previous drought of 1976 the 100th and 101st calves born during the baby boom were a set of twins: Eclipse and Equinox born to matriarch Estella on June 5, 1980. I am happy to say that both those elephants are alive today. We have not recorded a set of twins since 1980. We are hoping that maybe the circumstances are right for another set now.