DE
30.05.17

Double addition to the elk family at Hellabrunn Zoo

On Sunday, 21 May, elk mum Anita gave birth to twins. The two healthy, male calves Rico and Rocco are the first offspring for the elk herd this year, with more births likely to follow.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michael Matziol

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Michael Matziol

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Daniela Hierl

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Daniela Hierl

With their long slender legs, large ears and cute muzzles, the elk twins born on 21 May are definitely an eye-catcher. Rico and Rocco are just under 80 cm tall and weigh around 20 kg, and can easily pass under the belly of their long-legged mum. The calves will be suckled for about six months. In the first months, the twins will develop a close relationship with their mum – especially as she will fiercely protect them.

An adult elk bull can reach a height of up to two metres and tip the scales at about 800 kg. Young male elk develop antlers for the first time at the age of one. The first antlers are small, and as with each successive year, are grown in spring and shed after the rutting season in autumn. Juvenile elk reach sexual maturity at approximately 16 to 17 months.

Rico and Rocco's dad is the three-year-old bull Nils. Along with mum Anita, the other members of the elk herd are Merle, Frieda and Beate. So it is quite possible that there will be more births at Hellabrunn Zoo in the next few weeks. "We would certainly welcome the birth of more calves," says curator Carsten Zehrer.

Until then, Rico and Rocco can be seen enjoying the shade with mum Anita under the lush trees of the elk enclosure.