Rare Chinese Ele Calf Celebrates Its 100th Day Birthday

The baby Asian elephant born at the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s project site in Pu’er, Yunnan province in China, is healthy and strong.

A Chinese elephant calf spotted in Yunnan Province on December 13th, 2010.

The baby Asian elephant born at the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s project site in Pu’er, Yunnan province in China, is healthy and strong.

The calf, sex yet unidentified, was seen returning to its birthplace—Meng Kuang village—on its 100th day birthday with its mother and nine other family members.

Meng Kuang village is one of the monitoring stations in IFAW’s Asian elephant Conservation Project. The villagers, trained by the project, constantly monitor elephant movements to prevent conflict with human population.

Last December, this elephant family was seen roaming the fields around Meng Kuang village. In the early morning hours on December 13th, the elephants were heard trumpeting at the entrance of the village. At dawn, the monitoring staff were elated to find a new baby stumbling underneath its mother’s belly. They immediately informed the villagers and posted a guard between the village and the mountainside where the elephant family were feeding. The guard warned curious villagers not to get too close to the elephants, for fear of agitating the elephants and making them nervous.

The calf looked weak at birth, which raised concerns about its survival. It is such a relief to everyone from IFAW project staff to local villagers, to see the calf and its family showing up again, on its 100th day birthday nonetheless. In the Chinese culture, 100th day birthday is considered a very auspicious milestone in a baby’s life, often celebrated with wishes for the young life’s health and longevity.

The elephant family with the new baby has had six new members since 1996. This new addition increased the number of wild Asian elephants in the Pu’er region to 43.

Asian elephants are protected in China’s Wildlife Law since 1989. Historically widely found throughout the country, today China’s elephants, numbered around 300, live only in the southwest province of Yunnan. With the increasing scope of human activities elephant habitat has declined sharply causing an escalation in conflict between elephants and humans. IFAW initiated the Asian Elephant Conservation Projects in 1999 in order to alleviate human-elephant conflicts and thereby ensure the survival of wild elephants in China.

Working with local authorities, IFAW’s Asian Elephant Protection project established alternative income streams to replace those that compete with elephants for land use; build local capacity in elephant monitoring and habitat management; and raise awareness about elephant protection and encourage harmonious coexistence with wildlife. Since implementing these projects a decade ago, many communities have completely changed their attitude towards elephants and have become their main protectors.

-- GG

Post a comment


Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy