Adorable Baby Elephant Mapenzi Just Turned 1

Cuteness overload….

Mei Dotzler, Reporter

Happy Birthday Mapenzi! Reid Park Zoo’s very own baby elephant celebrated her first birthday on April 6th, 2021. Penzi for short — was born to African elephant mother Semba and immediately joined the rest of her family at the zoo.

Mapenzi, Nandi, and Semba’s loving sisterhood. Reid Park Zoo

While she’s close with everyone in the herd – big sister Nandi, father Mabu, brother Sundzu and aunt Lungile, she’s taken a great liking to Nandi, the two quickly becoming an inseparable pair.

At just 12-months old, Penzi is the hyper toddler you’d expect her to be. Despite the few etiquette lectures Nandi has given her, she likes finding things around her habitat that she can entertain herself with — food to eat, a log to balance on, or a stick to throw around. While she appreciates her alone time and enjoys independency, Penzi would rather spend playtime with Nandi no question. They love making muddy slip-and-slides together during sister bonding time.

Energetic Penzi rolling around a log for fun. Reid Park Zoo

Lately, Penzi’s favorite hobbies include eating branches, following her siblings around, and playing with leaves. And can’t forget also eating her favorite food – cucumbers. She currently weighs about 1,075 pounds, without a doubt growing up to be super strong and healthy.

Luckily Mapenzi got to experience her first magical Tucson snow day Jan. 26, 2021. Staying close to her mom and sister, Penzi was smiling and throwing her trunk up the whole time in happiness.

SNOW DAY!!! Reid Park Zoo

Being full of compassion and playfulness, Mapenzi will surely have another great year at Reid Park Zoo, learning how to be an obedient and friendly elephant. But it seems she’s already got that covered. “She teaches us all to love and protect elephants,” says elephant supervisor Cassie Dodds.