Meet Night Safari's latest star attraction at TNP Big Walk
Participants of The New Paper Courts Big Walk will get to see baby elephant Neha
The mother elephant trusted Mr Novendran S. so much that it allowed him to be around when it was giving birth.
The 43-year-old deputy head keeper, who has been looking after elephants for 24 years, said: "I am close to Sri Nandong, the calf's mother.
"Even when she was giving birth, she let me check on the baby. This shows how much she trusts me."
The female calf is five months old.
LOVING TOUCH: Mr Novendran S. playing with Neha. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
Its father, Chawang, is the biggest and most famous animal in the park and is known as the King of Night Safari.
Yesterday, the baby calf was officially named Neha, which means love in Hindi.
The name was chosen to reflect the love showered on it by both its elephant family and its human family.
Famous father aside, the little princess has already gained a following.
It has starred in two videos on Wildlife Reserves Singapore's Facebook page that show it splashing in its signature rainbow tub, going for walks and eating.
The videos have made waves on social media and have been featured in international media outlets.
Mr Novendran highly recommends that participants of The New Paper Courts Big Walk visit this star attraction.
"The calf comes across as clumsy and playful as she explores her surroundings... and she also tries to have more control of her trunk as baby elephants don't always know how to use their trunks," he said.
"We don't always have a baby elephant, and this will be a good opportunity for Big Walk participants to see one up close.
"They can watch the calf play in the exhibit and see her cute, funny and clumsy ways."
Mr Novendran added: "Elephants are such intelligent animals... there is never really a typical day with them...
"They will do something which will surprise you."
For example, Neha likes to chase the zookeepers and when they turn around, it pretends to be doing something else.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Wildlife Reserves Singapore's deputy chief executive officer and chief life sciences officer, said: "The birth of this female calf is particularly significant as elephants are very slow breeders, and she will contribute towards achieving a sustainable population under human care.
"She will also play a leading role as an ambassador to help raise awareness on the plight of her threatened relatives in the wild."
Sri Nandong and Neha are Asian elephants, which are classified as endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species due to habitat loss and human-elephant conflicts.
It is evident that Mr Novendran loves his job.
He said: "It is our responsibility to make sure that the baby is developing well, like getting enough milk from her mother as that is her staple food."
The elephants' diet includes jackfruit leaves, napier grass, hay and fruit and vegetables such as apples, papayas, honeydew, watermelons and carrots.
He added: "Elephants love water, so a part of the day is always spent scrubbing the females down during their daily bath.
"It also strengthens the bond between the keepers and the elephants.
"For the males, which are managed in protected contact (as they tend to be more temperamental than females as they mature), we also hose them down, especially if it's a hot day."
The New Paper Courts Big Walk @ Singapore Zoo
Saturday, Nov 26, 2pm
Singapore Zoo & Night Safari
Register online at www.tnpbigwalk.sg
$42 ($35 for early-bird sign-ups)
Discounted tickets to the River Safari at $8 each with every registration (maximum of four tickets per participant)