Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park welcomed a new baby African elephant on December 13, 2023, marking the first calf born at the park in 7 years. The healthy baby girl, named Corra, weighed 218 pounds at birth and is bonding backstage with her mother, Nadirah. Corra’s birth is extra special because her mother Nadirah was also born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2005, making Corra the first second-generation calf born at the park. Nadirah’s pregnancy lasted 22 months, and she received specialized care from Disney’s animal care team throughout that time.
The birth of African elephant calves like Corra at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is carefully planned through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. This program aims to ensure the responsible breeding of endangered animals under human care. African elephants are classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, with populations declining due to threats like poaching and habitat loss.
History of Elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been home to a family herd of African elephants since the park first opened on April 22, 1998. The park’s dedication to conservation makes it an ideal environment to care for these highly intelligent and social animals. Over the years, the elephant herd at Animal Kingdom has produced 7 calves prior to Corra’s arrival. The first calf, a male named Tufani, was born in 2003. He was followed by siblings Kianga (female, 2004), Nadirah (female, 2005), Tsavo (male, 2008), Luna (female, 2010), Lillie (female, 2011) and Grace (female, 2016). Sadly, bull elephant Tufani passed away in 2021 at the age of 18. The rest of the elephants continue to be beloved animal ambassadors at the park.
Guests can see them on the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction or special behind-the-scenes tours like Backstage Tales and Caring for Giants. The elephant herd lives in a spacious savannah habitat with a barn, mud wallows, scratching posts and enrichment toys. Animal care experts monitor their health and wellbeing around the clock. A typical adult female weighs 6,000-8,000 lbs and eats 125-150 lbs of hay and produce per day! Disney‘s animal care team collaborates with researchers worldwide to study elephant communication, behavior and reproduction. This helps advance scientific knowledge and conservation efforts for endangered elephants in the wild.
Caring for Baby Corra
The animal care team is closely monitoring Corra and Nadirah during the critical bonding phase over the next few days. So far the pair show positive signs like successful nursing and steady weight gain. Eventually Corra will be introduced to the rest of her new family – father Luto, grandmother Donna, and aunts Luna and Stella. It’s common for the females in an elephant herd to help care for calves, with independence usually achieved around age 8. Baby Corra is sure to delight guests when she makes her public debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the coming weeks. Her birth represents the park’s ongoing commitment to animal care, conservation and telling the story of these magnificent giants.