Remember that baby elephant born at Lowry Park Zoo late last year?
She now has a name — and it came from 8,000 miles away. In honor of their leadership in establishing three national parks for wildlife conservation in Swaziland, Africa, the Reily family was asked to suggest a name for the zoo's 1-month-old African elephant calf. They proposed the Swati name Mpumi (pronounced with the letter M-pumi), which is short for impumelelo, meaning success or achievement. The calf's mother, Mbali, came to the U.S. from Swaziland in 2003 after her herd was scheduled to be killed, due to park overpopulation.
Mbali and Mpumi can be seen on exhibit at the zoo until approximately 1 p.m. daily right now, weather permitting. In the afternoon, the pair returns to the elephant barn to nap.
Born on Dec. 23, Mpumi is only the second elephant calf in the zoo's history (the first birth was in 2005). Births in the managed population are few, with just three calves born in 2012 among 40 institutions accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. In addition to conservation efforts with this species in Tampa, the Lowry Park Zoo has supported acquiring additional land, antipoaching programs and public education in Swaziland.