Zoo celebrates birth of rare baby elephant

Long wait: Indali was born after her mum Sundara Hi Way was pregnant for 22 months. © AP

Chester Zoo has been working in India on projects helping to protect wild elephants. Its latest arrival should help raise more awareness of the species – and the threats it is facing.

What’s happening

A rare Asian elephant has been born at Chester Zoo in Britain.

Keepers at the zoo said both mother and daughter are doing well, and visitors will be able to see the new arrival this week.

The calf is the 19th elephant to be born at the zoo and brings the current size of its herd to seven.

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Elephants are born into captivity in the UK only once or twice a year.

Keepers at the zoo watched the birth remotely via CCTV cameras so as not to disturb the herd.

“The arrival of a calf is a great family occasion for the elephant herd and brings the whole group together,” said the zoo.

“As soon as mother Sundara began showing early signs of labour, you could see the rest of the family knew something special was about to happen.”

“This was Sundara’s second pregnancy and the birth was pretty much perfect. She delivered her calf on to soft sand, with all the family gathered around. Minutes later, the new arrival was up and standing and making her first attempts to suckle.”

Can we save Asian elephants from extinction?

Some say…

Yes! In India, Asian elephants are regularly killed in conflicts with humans. They wander into villages, destroying crops as they go and this often results in attacks by villagers. But conservation work in Assam in northern India is successfully helping to stop these problems, finding ways for people and wild elephants to live side-by-side.

Others think…

The longer term future remains very bleak for Asian elephants. The greatest threats are the continued loss of their natural land; illegal killing for their ivory, and problems resulting from their small population. Many of the remaining populations are both very small and very isolated.

You Decide

  1. Are elephants frightening?

Activities

  1. Draw an Asian elephant and an African elephant side-by-side, noting the differences!

Some People Say...

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant: the only harmless great thing.”

John Donne (1572-1631), English poet

What do you think?

Word Watch

Asian elephant
The elephant is Earth’s largest land animal, although the Asian elephant is slightly smaller than its African cousin. Asian elephants can be identified by their smaller, rounded ears.
CCTV
Closed circuit television – the cameras that we often see now in public spaces and on roads that record our movements.
Ivory
Elephant tusks are made of valuable ivory, and poachers often kill elephants just to steal and sell the ivory.

Subjects

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