A female Asian elephant was born on April 26 at the Saint Louis Zoo.Photo by Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo.
Updated: On May 22, Priya, the baby elephant born April 26 at the Saint Louis Zoo, made her first public debut. Priya and her mother, Ellie, will continue to be on view at the River's Edge, weather permitting, but not at scheduled times. The calf and mother will probably not be on view all day.
The Saint Louis Zoo has announced that Ellie, an Asian elephant, gave birth to a female calf at 10:57 p.m., Friday, April 26.
"Mother and baby are both doing very well," said Martha Fischer, curator of mammals. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around well."
Ellie and the baby spent their first night together quietly bonding. Mother and baby are not yet on public display, and a debut date has not been set.
The birth was attended by the zoo's veterinarians and elephant caretakers who are monitoring the health of the baby and Ellie. The calf is about 38 inches tall and weighs 251 pounds.
"An experienced mother and grandmother, Ellie was, of course, very nurturing, caring for her newborn baby from the very beginning," said Fischer. "She did a great job of carrying and giving birth to a beautiful baby girl."
This is the third birth for the 42-year-old elephant. Ellie is the mother to Maliha and Rani and the grandmother to Kenzi who was borth in June 2011. The zoo's bull elephant, Raja is the calf's father. He was the first Asian elephant born at the Saint Louis Zoo in 1992.
"Ellie has proven to be such a caring mother and a doting grandmother, and we are optimistic that everything will go well," said Fischer last August when Ellie's pregnancy was announced. "Once she arrives, the new calf will get lots of attention from Maliha and Jade. Both have a lot of practice helping to take care of Kenzi."
A newborn elephant weighs about 250-350 pounds. An elephant pregnancy lasts about 22 months.
Ellie lives with her three-generation family that includes Rani, Maliha, Jade, Kenzi and the rest of the herd of a total of nine elephants at the zoo's River's Edge habitat. In 2012, the Zoo added Elephant Woods, a fourth naturalistic habitat for its elephant family – doubling the space for the Zoo's herd.
This elephant breeding was recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Asian Elephant Species Survival Plan, a national cooperative breeding and management program.