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Another baby elephant born at St. Louis Zoo

(St. Louis Zoo photo of new baby elephant)
(St. Louis Zoo photo of new baby elephant)


St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Zoo welcomed a 236-pound baby on Sunday night. Rani, a first-time mother, gave birth to a female calf, accoruding to curator Martha Fischer.

"She wanted to stand, walk and run right away. She is very active, very precocious," Fischer said Monday.

Rani began showing signs of labor at 3 a.m. Sunday. Rani's mother, Ellie, and Ellie's infant daughter, Maliha, remained nearby during labor.

During the day Sunday, visible signs of labor tapered off, which is not unusual; they picked up after the sun went down and progressed well, Fischer said. "We pretty much watched things unfold," she said.

After the calf was born, a veterinarian briefly checked the new elephant's health. The calf stood 34 1/2 inches tall. The baby was quickly returned to 10-year-old Rani.

"Rani is a first-time mother, so we weren't sure what her response would be," Fischer said, noting that Rani is accustomed to having "little ones around underfoot" since Maliha's birth.

Rani has been very interested and protective of the new calf, which are good signs, and the baby has nursed successfully, Fischer said.

The baby's father is 14-year-old Raja, the zoo's first elephant birth and something of a celebrity at the zoo.

Each year St. Louisans attend his birthday party and interest remains high in his offspring. "People have loved watching his progress," said zoo spokeswoman Janet Powell.

Raja's first daughter, Maliha, was born Aug. 2 and has drawn huge crowds. Another Asian elephant, Sri, was pregnant with Raja's baby, but lost the baby. The zoo expects to sponsor a contest to name the new baby elephant.