Baby Q has taken first steps

Good news from Planckendael today: elephant calf Baby Q has taken his first steps all by himself inside the big sand stable. Though, the animal park stresses that there's still a long way to go for little Q: "We still have to struggle through many developmental stages before we can breathe easy."

The elephant calf has to be able to stand up by itself in order to advance at all. If he can't, he won't be able to suckle from his mother, May Tagu, without any help.

For now, caretakers feed Baby Q bottled milk. One of them reports that he drinks about 6 litres every 24 hours, although of course this is just a temporary solution.

Today, an important milestone has been reached: Baby Q took some steps all by himself for the first time. Caretakers are now looking at the possibility of leaving him alone, if he's able to stand up stably.

Will he manage?

It would be best if the calf was included in the herd as soon as possible. If he's ready, he'll be reunited with his mother May Tagu and other elephant cow YuYuYin, who showed most interest in him right after birth. Then, animal fosters will observe whether May Tagu will nurse him. But there's more: "Will he manage to drink or not? Will he figure out the proper technique?", worry caretakers.

Everything seems to be going well, but fosters are taking baby steps with young Q. "We're crossing our fingers, because there's a lot that could go wrong." Raising him on nothing but breast milk is not a good plan, because then he’s likely to die after reaching the age of one year.

Baby Q is a temporary name. Planckendael is looking for a good definitive name that starts with a Q. Everyone can make a suggestion, says the animal park.