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Jakarta Post

Baby elephants big gift to Jakartans

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, December 23, 2013   /  10:43 am
Baby elephants big gift to Jakartans

Welcome to the family: Mulyani, a 25-year-old Sumatran elephant, is seen with her newborn Desi in their enclosure at the Ragunan Zoo, South Jakarta. Courtesy Ragunan Zoo

The Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta is closing 2013 with new additions to its elephant family, as two elephants recently gave birth.

On Dec. 2, 25-year-old Sumatran elephant Mulyani gave birth to a female calf named Desi, who weighed in at 100 kilograms, said Zoo spokesman Wahyudi Bambang over the weekend.

About two months earlier, on Oct. 20, Mulyani'€™s eldest daughter, Agustin, gave birth to an 80-kg male calf temporarily named Okto, said Wahyudi.

'€œWe expect Jakarta Governor [Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo] and the Forestry Minister [Zulkifli Hasan] to name the two babies, so until then we have temporarily named them Okto and Desi,'€ he said.

Wahyudi said that the birth of Okto was the first in almost 15 years, since Mulyani gave birth to Agustin in 1999.

The long wait was partly due to the fact that elephants needed about six to seven years to nurture their offspring, said Wahyudi.

According to Wahyudi, with the additional two calves, the zoo now has 14 Sumatran elephants.

Visitors can see the two new arrivals in the zoo'€™s elephant cage, as they have already come out of quarantine.

Ryan, a zoo visitor, said that it was his first time seeing an elephant calf. '€œUntil now, I'€™ve only seen them on TV. They are even cuter in real life,'€ he said.

The Sumatran elephant is classified as an endangered species and, therefore, is protected by law.

Data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimated that between 2,400 and 2,800 Sumatran elephants lived in the wild in 2007. The number was a huge decrease as compared to data from 1985 that said over 4,000 elephants were living in the wild at the time.

Wahyudi said the zoo also welcomed two baby orangutans this year, after 3-year-old orangutan Vulkani died in November while playing with a chain inside its cage.

'€œIt was an accident. Vulkani was too active and got stuck in a chain. We took the chain from the cage right after the accident to avoid the same thing from happening in the future,'€ said Wahyudi, adding that the zoo now had around 46 orangutans.

A picture of Vulkani with the chain recently circulated on the Internet. (nai)

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