New elephant in the room at Belgian zoo

  • Friday 01, March 2019 08:33 PM
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: Aye Chan May, a 23-year-old Asian elephant, gave birth to her first calf on Tuesday at the Belgian zoo of Pairi Daiza.
The baby girl does not have a name yet as the zoo will leave it up to the public to help choose it through a vote on social media.

The very long gestation period of elephants, from 18 to 24 months, makes it a special event for the zoo caretakers when such a birth happens, even if this one is already the third at the zoo.
Zookeeper Rob Conachie, who is in charge of elephants at Pairi Daiza, said the birth was unexpectedly fast.

"She was showing me no signs at all of wanting to give birth at that time, but within minutes, I could already see the bulge at the bottom of her tail and you could see them starting to push," he told Reuters television on Wednesday.

Conachie, who has been taking care of elephants for over 20 years, said there are only around 38,000 Asian Elephants left in the world, making each birth a crucial event for the breeding programme of the species.

The zoo, which is currently closed to the public for the winter season, re-opens on April 6 and is expecting a new resident in the fall, a baby rhinoceros.