A big bundle of joy was unveiled at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on Tuesday, May 26. The baby elephant was born on Tuesday, May 12 after his mother – 18-year-old Mali – carried him for 642 days. The calf weighed 281 pounds and stands 36.1 inches tall, just over three feet at birth. He joins Mali and father – 17-year-old Doc – as one of the few third generation Asian elephants born in North America.
“With three generations in our herd, it replicates the typical makeup of a family group in the wild,” said Ted Fox, zoo director.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney was at the zoo with the staff to present the newborn to the community.
“We are thrilled to introduce our new baby elephant to the community,” said Mahoney. “His birth is another milestone for the zoo’s Asian elephant program and I would like to thank the zoo staff and veterinarians for their exceptional care of both mother and baby.”
Mahoney also announced that members of the community are invited to enter a contest to name the calf.
The contest begins May 26 and contest guidelines are online at the following link: rosamondgiffordzoo.org/naming-contest.
Submissions will be taken for five days, closing at 4 p.m. on Saturday May 30. Submissions are open to all 5 years of age and older with one submission per person. It is suggested that entries pay homage to the Asian culture of the elephants such as names hailing from India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand.
A committee consisting of the zoo director, a few of the keepers, and a representative of friends of the zoo will then choose the top five from all entries. Those finalists will be posted on the zoo’s website for further voting. All submissions require an explanation for why the name was chosen to assist the committee in making their choices.
Voting on the top five entries will be open until 4 p.m. on June 12. The name with the most votes will be bestowed upon the newborn elephant.
The winner will be announced June 16 on the zoo’s website and social media platforms. The genius that comes up with the winning name will receive an Asian elephant Adopt an Animal care package courtesy of friends of the zoo.
Staff and volunteers of the zoo are allowed to enter the naming contests according to Jamie Alvarez, director of public relations at the zoo. The naming contests does not have as strict stipulations as the zoos photo contests, which prohibits staff from entering.
The as of now unnamed elephant is on view at the zoo where he joins the herd of six adult Asian elephants.
“I’ve been here for two years and we’ve had two penguin naming contests and we’ve had between 700 and 900 for those, said Alvarez. “But I think given the interest in the new baby we might have more than that.”
Need some inspiration?
Find popular Indian names HERE
Find popular Burmese names HERE
Find popular Taiwanese names HERE