Dickerson Park Zoo, Springfield, MO
In July, Springfield’s Dickerson
Park Zoo became home to a 238-pound baby girl elephant named Nisha.
The name, an Indian word meaning “night,” refers to the
calf’s overnight birth at 1:35 a.m., on July 18. The name was
selected by zoo staff from more than 830 names submitted by the public.
who currently weighs 361 pounds, is the third calf for Moola, Nisha’s
25-year-old mother, and the first offspring for 18-year-old bull, Sabu. The pachyderm
bundle of joy was the sixth successful elephant birth at Dickerson Park Zoo and
the first since 1999.
The zoo is widely recognized by
experts for pioneering work in breeding Asian elephants. The zoo is
an integral part of the Asian and African Elephant Species Survival
Program accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, based
Dickerson Park Zoo’s breeding
program dates to the early ’80s, when
zoos were trying to maintain their herds after the U.S. Endangered Species Act
of 1973 barred the importation of wild elephants. In response, they began their
own breeding program.
Currently, the zoo is home to an
elephant herd of two adult bulls, four adult cows and baby Nisha. Staff
reports Nisha is very bright, ornery and enjoys playing her version
of the children’s
game King of the Hill on a mound of dirt in the elephant’s spacious
outdoor play area.
The Dickerson Park Zoo is located
at 1401 W. Norton Road in Springfield. For hours or information, call
(417) 864-1800 or log onto www.dickersonparkzoo.org.