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Baby elephant already a catch on first Valentine's Day at West Midlands Safari Park

Staffordshire | News | Published:

A baby elephant who has captured the hearts of his keepers was given a red rose for Valentines Day.

The nine month old baby elephant calf Sutton, loved by staff at West Midlands Safari Park for his mischievous character, received the rose as a gift for his first Valentine's Day.

After playing with it for a short period, the elephant - named after Staffordshire cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton - scooped up the rose in his trunk and offered it to his 23 year old mum, called Five.

Bob Lawrence, director of wildlife, said: "Sutton is intrigued by anything new and different that happens in the elephant reserve.

"As a treat we have just started giving him bananas, which he soon learnt was something much more enjoyable than just a plaything.

"After a short while, he did begin to throw the rose around for a time so we decided we had better rescue it".

Sutton was born at West Midland Safari Park on May 5 2014 following a 22-month pregnancy.

He is only the second baby elephant in the world to be born following artificial insemination using semen, taken from a wild elephant, which was frozen and stored in a laboratory.

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West Midland Safari Park has two female elephants, Five and Latabe.

They have lived at the Park since 1998 when they were just six and five years old respectively, when they measured barely 5ft to the shoulder.

Orphaned by the shooting of their mothers at a few days old, Five and Latabe were hand reared in a private elephant orphanage near Pretoria, South Africa, with countless others suffering the same plight. When the babies outgrew the orphanage, new homes were sought, which led their arrival at West Midland Safari Park.

Anyone who would like to see Sutton and Five at the safari park can do so from Saturday, when the park and the associated Adventure Theme Park will remain open until November

Standard admission is £19.99 for adults, £14.99 for children aged 3-15 years and £17.99 for concessions.

Further information by phone 01299 402114 or website www.wmsp.co.uk

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