Three Planckendael elephants, including Kai-Mook, are expecting

Summary

Planckendael animal park in Mechelen has announced that not one, not two, but three of its elephants are pregnant

Buns in the oven

The Planckendael animal park in Mechelen has confirmed rumours that not only is elephant Kai-Mook pregnant, so is her big sister, May Tagu, and her mother, Phyo Phyo. The pregnancy of Phyo Phyo was announced just this morning.

All three elephants are well known in Belgium because Kai-Mook, now aged seven, was the first elephant ever born in the country. She was the focus of much media attention and responsible for record visitor figures at Antwerp Zoo, where the elephants were then housed.

Now that she is old enough to have her own baby, she was put together with Chang, a steer who arrived in Mechelen in 2012. Planckendael staff were convinced that that the mating had been unsuccessful, but later tests showed that Kai-Mook was pregnant after all. If all goes well, she should give birth by the end of next year.

Chang is also the father of two more babies expected at Planckendael. May Tagu, Kai-Mook’s sister, is pregnant, too. The nine-year-old gave birth last year, but the baby’s health was poor, and it died after a month.

Finally, the mother of both Kai-Mook and May Tagu, Phyo Phyo is also pregnant. Phyo Phyo is 35 years old.

Planckendael has not yet revealed the expected due dates for May Tagu and Phyo Phyo. The average gestation period for an elephant is 22 months.

Photo, from left: Phyo Phyo, Kai-Mook and May Tagu at Planckendael
©Jonas Verhulst/Planckendael

This article was updated at 15.45 on 14 December