Female elephant calf born at St. Louis Zoo

April 28, 2013 at 4:44 PM
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ST. LOUIS, April 28 (UPI) -- A 251-pound female baby elephant born at the St. Louis Zoo is healthy and happy, zoo officials said.

The elephant calf was born Friday to a 42-year-old elephant named Ellie after a two-year pregnancy, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

This was Ellie's third birth. Raja, a 20-year-old male elephant, has fathered all of Ellie's calves.

"Ellie did a great job as always," St. Louis Zoo mammal curator Martha Fischer said Saturday. "By the time we can see the bulge, which is the feet coming through the birth canal, it's very fast. We were there to help if she needed us but she didn't. She's a star."

Fischer said the newborn, who weighs 251 pounds and is 38 inches tall, stood up within minutes of her birth and has been feeding and sleeping.

"It took her a little time to figure out she had to reach up but since then she's been getting full bellies of milk. She has been a sleepy camper," Fischer said. "She's just beautiful."

The zoo will hold a contest to name the calf, the Post-Dispatch said.

As for when the calf will be introduced to the public, Fischer said that depends on Ellie.

"We definitely leave that up to Ellie," said Fischer. "It's different with every calf. With the social complexity of our [elephant] family we want to make sure the introductions are made. And then we will work on introducing her to St. Louis. We'll do it as soon as we can because we know everyone wants to meet her but we do completely defer to Ellie."

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