ORLANDO, Fla. – With the new year comes a new elephant calf roaming the savanna Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Mother Donna gave birth to calf Stella in December after breeding with one of the park's male elephants in January 2015. Stella is currently about 34 inches tall and weighs 313 pounds.
Until Wednesday, Stella had been in the backstage area for about a month out of the view of the public eye, while she nursed and bonded with her mother and the other elephants in the family.
During the gestation period, which generally lasts 22 months for African elephants, Donna received neonatal care from scientists, veterinarians and elephant managers who gave her ultrasounds and monitored her hormones to determine when she would give birth.
Stella brings the park's herd to 10 elephants -- three males and seven females -- and marks Donna's third calf. Donna gave birth to Nadirah in 2005 and Luna in 2010.