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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 February, 2003, 11:30 GMT
Baby Kito has visitors soaring
Baby elephant
Kito's a big attraction at Colchester Zoo
The thunder of tiny elephant feet has sent visitor numbers soaring at Colchester Zoo.

Baby elephant Kito, conceived by artificial insemination, was born at the Essex zoo just before Christmas.

He is one of the very few African elephants in Britain to be born in captivity.

In December 2001 there were 15,000 visitors at the zoo.

Thanks to Kito's arrival the figure for December last year was up to 23,000 visitors.

His father, Tembo, has another two offspring on the way.

Zola and Rosa both became pregnant naturally.

The zoo is especially proud of its growing family because breeding elephants in captivity is difficult and rare.

Tembo will soon have another two offspring
Tembo arrived at Colchester two years ago from the Chipperfields. He featured on the video that got Mary Chipperfield prosecuted for animal cruelty.

The zoo's baby boom is down to better ways of measuring hormone levels in elephants.

Regular monitoring has enabled keepers to know exactly when it is a good time to mix the females with Tembo.

Click here to go to Essex

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