Northwest NEWS

Nember 13, 2000


Baby elephant walk


by Lisa Allen
   Valley View Editor
   SEATTLE - You learn something new every day, and last week I learned there's nothing quite like watching a five-day-old elephant play with a beach ball. To the delight of zoo visitors, the calf, energized after a nap, had just discovered the big, blue ball and was pushing it around with her tiny trunk.
   The baby is a wonderful addition to Woodland Park Zoo's elephant herd and a hit with visitors who have been willing to wait up to an hour and a half to see her.
   Chai, the zoo's 21-year-old Asian elephant, gave birth to the little nipper on Nov. 3. She and baby made their public debut on Monday, Nov. 6, after it was clear to zookeepers that the pair had bonded and all was going well after the much-anticipated birth. The calf spends most of her time close to or directly underneath her 8,700-pound mom, who appears to know exactly where she is at all times.
   Chai came to Woodland Park from Thailand at the age of one, a gift to the citizens of Seattle from the city of Bangkok. She is known as the most easy-going of the four elephants at the zoo. Sri (pronounced see), a 20-year-old elephant at Woodland Park, is also from Thailand. According to zoo spokesperson Gigi Ogilvie, keepers are hoping to breed Sri in the near future.
   Visitors can see Chai and her baby from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the elephant barn.