Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Saturday, 7 February 2009

Baby elephant exploring paddock

Etana with her mother, Swana
Etana's mother was also born at Howletts in 1985

The latest African elephant calf to be born at Howletts has gone out into the paddock and is adjusting well to her surroundings, her keepers have said.

Etana, which means "strong one" in Swahili, brings the size of the herd at the Kent wild animal park to 14.

Head of elephants, Dave Magner, said: "The baby is adjusting very well to its new surroundings and family.

"She was keen to get out into the paddock very quickly and appears to have bonded very well with her mum."

Etana was born just before Christmas weighing in at an estimated 70 to 80kg following a 22-month gestation period.

Her mother, Swana, was also born at Howletts in 1985.

Mr Magner said keepers at the park were delighted.

"Despite dedicated efforts, African elephants are still very difficult to breed in captivity," he said.

He said it was hoped the elephants would start roaming around their enclosures as the weather improved.



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