Sequel to Safari Soap Opera: Granny Elephant Gives Birth

Two months after a newborn elephant took to nursing from its grandmother rather than its mother, grandmother gives birth to her own newborn.

Warmest congratulations to the oddly-named elephant La Petite, who on Wednesday gave birth to the cutest baby – two months after her daughter birthed a bairn herself, leading to quite the family foofaraw in the Ramat Gan Safari.

The father in both cases, by the way, is the hulking hunk Motek, which means "Sweetie" in Hebrew – quite the name for a large bull Asian elephant.

Motek lives in the enclosure next door to the ladies. Their paddock now contains Granny La Petite, her daughter La Belle, and their two kids – tiny elephant calves just two months apart in age, and dead cute.

The problem had been that La Belle's baby, born after a 22-month gestation in early August, had taken to nursing from the grandmother, La Petite. Why? No one knows. Maybe La Belle had no milk to start with. Maybe she had no clue what to do with her first newborn and her mama was helping out. Maybe Mama, heavily pregnant herself, had no clue that the baby was La Belle's.

Cute? Not at all. Safari officials were at their wits' end, fearing any number of problems. For instance, that Granny La Petite's horning in could interfere with the bonding between mother La Belle and baby, leading to disaster once the grandmother's baby was born.

Be that as it may, all is well. The two ladies and their offspring are living together peacefully, with Motek watching from the side. "The little girl elephant was born around dawn. She's already nursing from her mother and seems healthy and strong," Safari spokeswoman Sagit Horowitz reports.

It's a little hard to tell the babies apart – which one is the dewy-eyed newborn and which is the veteran 2-month old. That's because La Belle's child, named Latangi, was born a tad underweight. If a newborn Asian elephant normally weighs about 100 kilos, little Latangi – which means "skinny girl" in Sanskrit - was born at "just" 80 kilos. And what's the latest newcomer to the Safari called? Stay tuned.
 

AFP