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Zoo says grandma elephant nursing newborn instead of mom

Aug. 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

RAMAT GAN, Israel, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Officials at an Israeli zoo said they are concerned a grandmother elephant may be interfering with the bonding process between a mother and her infant.

The Zoological Center Tel Aviv-Ramat Gan, informally known as the Safari Park, said the 200-pound girl was born to Asian elephant La Belle, 7, at the park Friday, but officials are concerned grandmother La Petite, 25, might be overstepping her bounds by nursing the infant, Haaretz reported Monday.

"The grandmother is horning in rather too much," spokesman Sagit Horowitz said.

However, Horowitz said officials are reluctant to intervene because they don't want to endanger La Petite's own pregnancy and they think La Belle, who has miscarried in the past, may be feeling overwhelmed.

This is her first live baby," Horowitz said. "She may not know what to do, and the grandmother may be helping out."

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