Baby animals are, as a general rule, adorable. Their heads are too big for their bodies, they don’t know much about the world yet, and they have an amazing amount of energy and zest for life.
That’s no different for elephants, who — rare as they may be — are intelligent and inquisitive creatures that are also pretty stinking cute as babies. Fortunately for us, the San Diego Zoo has several, and doesn’t mind sharing them with the world.
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park Facebook page is full of adorable photos and videos of baby animals — but the elephants have quite a following.
One baby elephant named Mkhaya has especially won over viewers’ hearts with her antics.
Umngani, a 28-year-old elephant, gave birth to Mkhaya on Sept. 26 this year. The baby came earlier than anyone expected her to, and yet was the largest baby elephant to be born to the safari park.
“(Umngani) has given birth three other times, and those calves arrived late — so when we checked on her first thing (Wednesday) morning, we were surprised and thrilled to see her caring for her healthy newborn,” said Curtis Lehman, the animal care supervisor, according to NBC.
The baby pachyderm joins the park’s 13 elephants, but clearly still has some time for human interaction. And she’s no little slip of a thing: A newborn of 281 pounds, she’s now a cute-but-intimidating critter.
In a video posted to the park’s page shortly before Halloween on Oct. 29, the little elephant made quite a ruckus. She charged the person taking the video (one of the keepers) and trumpeted at him — not once, but twice, proving how fierce she is.
As with most baby creatures, her fierceness is overwhelmed by her cuteness, and while she could potentially inflict some damage she’s really not all that scary yet.
The big little one’s name comes from the name of a Swaziland wildlife reserve. Many people have taken to calling her “Kaia,” but her name connects her to her roots.
“I find the name Mkhaya well fitting, as it agrees with our naming considerations linked to place of rescue,” mentioned the CEO of the Retedi Elephant Sanctuary, Paul Leringato, according to the San Diego Zoo. “Because its mother is from Swaziland, the naming tells a good story.”
Mkhaya’s own mother was one of several elephants rescued from Swaziland in 2003, making her name even more important. But now her cuteness and verve are doing just as much to help make her an ambassador for her kind.
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