Have you ‘herd’ the great news at Woburn?

Pregnant Damini
Pregnant Damini

Woburn Safari Park are proud to announce they are expecting a rather special addition to the park as they celebrate the first pregnancy for Damini their 17 year old Asian elephant who has been cared for by Woburn Safari Park since 1997.

Damini, which is Indian for lightning or electric, is now 12 months into her pregnancy and still has a long way to go as an elephant pregnancy lasts up to 22 months, giving her a due date of April 2012. The proud father, 17 year old Asian elephant Raja also lives at Woburn.

Head Elephant Keeper Lynne Thomson said: “We are thrilled, but also aware that we have a long way to go. Every step of the way we will be providing careful prenatal care.”

Special care consists of a balanced diet, which in elephant terms means eating around 70kg of food a day. This has to be monitored to make sure she doesn’t put on too much weight during her pregnancy and the growing baby is getting the best nutrition. In addition to this the elephant keepers ensure Damini is exercised regularly, with a brisk walk around the park, stretching and swimming - just what the doctor ordered.

Lynne added: “This is very encouraging news for the elephants at Woburn Safari Park, and we are absolutely delighted. We have close communication with our vets. Damini is a year or two older than she would be in the wild for her first pregnancy, so we are keeping an extra close eye on her.”

Damini, Raja and their companions Chandrika and Yu Zin can all be seen at Woburn Safari Park in their large paddock enclosures. Plus Chandrika, Damini and Yu ZIn will be meeting visitors for a ‘Meet & Greet’ every day at 3.30pm this summer, where you can listen to keepers talks and get extra close.