Queen Elizabeth Meets Baby Elephant Named After Her

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Queen Elizabeth Meets Baby Elephant Named After Her

Queen Elizabeth feeds Donna the elephant a banana during a visit to Whipsnade Zoo

London:  Here's what happened when Queen Elizabeth II met Elizabeth the elephant. The British monarch was visiting an elephant reserve in England when she came face to face with the herd's youngest member. The ten-month-old calf was named after her because she was born one day before Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday. The calf and her mother Karishma are among the nine Asian elephants that will live at the custom-designed Centre for Elephant Care at Whipsnade Zoo, run by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The queen is a patron of ZSL, which carries out animal conservation work around the world. 
  
Queen Elizabeth was "absolutely delighted" to discover that Elizabeth the elephant was named in her honour, said ZSL's Director Professor David Field.

Zookeepers at Whipsnade described the baby elephant, who weighs 460 kilograms, as very playful. "She even has a football which she takes everywhere and gets stroppy if it is taken away from her," said one zookeeper.

The queen, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, even fed bananas to one of the elephants - a rather greedy Donna.
   
Assistant curator of elephants at Whipsnade Lee Sambrook said the queen was especially interested to hear about the round-the-clock care the elephants receive.

The new Centre for Elephant Care includes more than 700 square metres of indoor space. It is fitted out with a host of elephant-friendly features, including one metre-deep soft sand flooring to provide maximum comfort and lights that can be dimmed to mimic night-time.

Asian elephants are considered endangered due to habitat loss, poaching and conflict with humans.

(With inputs from IANS)

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