Rare white elk born at Space Farms zoo

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    Beemerville-Proud Papa Bailey will show off his offspring at Space Farms this Father's Day. The rare white Elk in residence at Space Farms has three new offspring born within the last two weeks. Two are pure white, like the sire and one is the traditional spotted brown color. The elk or in the Shawnee Indian language, Wapiti, is the second largest native North American member of the deer family. A bull elk will weigh up to 800 pounds and stand five feet tall at the shoulder. The massive antlers of the elk are used for dominance fighting, fending off all other potential suitors from the bull's harem. Breeding takes place in the fall and calves are born after an eight month gestation. At birth a calf will weigh between 30 and 40 pounds. They stand to nurse within the hour. "The three appear to be very healthy and have been nursing vigorously from their moms," says Lori Space Day, Zoologist. "The moms are being very protective." While the protective natural coloration of the little brown calf makes him very hard to see in the wooded enclosure, the white ones show up like ghosts amongst the June forest greenery. "That's why this white mutation (not an albino) would never survive in the wild," states Parker Space (co-owner of the zoo with his father Fred Space). Father's Day at the Space Farms Zoo is a special day for families. A special drawing is held for a Family Season Pass that enables the winning Dad to bring his family to the zoo, as often as they wish, until the zoo closes October 31st. Space Farms Zoo and Museum is located on Route 519 in Sussex and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10.95 per adult, $6.50 per child and $9.95 per seniors. Season passes and birthday parties are available. For more information call Space Farms at 973-875-5800 or visit the website: www.spacefarms.com.