3 Jan 2013

We teamed up with BBC Earth Unplugged to run a naming poll via social media with Bala, meaning ‘a girl’ in Hindi, the overwhelming favourite.

From a shortlist of names chosen by the zoo’s keepers, Bala pulled in 55% of the vote, Danti 20%, Nandita 15% and Nanda 10%.

All of the family members in the herd – spanning four generations – have the surname Hi Way.

Photo © Gareth Brooks

Bala was the second Asian elephant calf to be born at the zoo in the space of just eight weeks when she arrived at 11pm on Jan 21 to mum Sithami.

Chester Zoo is part of a breeding program coordinated by the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) that is focused on sustaining the elephant population in Europe.