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Monday, April 29, 2013

Saint Louis Zoo Announces Birth of 251-Pound Baby Elephant (PHOTOS)

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 8:49 AM

click to enlarge Saint Louis Zoo's new baby girl. - KATIE PILGRAM/SAINT LOUIS ZOO
  • Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo
  • Saint Louis Zoo's new baby girl.

It's a girl! A 251-pound baby girl.

The Saint Louis Zoo announced this weekend that Ellie, the zoo's 42-year-old Asian elephant, has successfully given birth to a baby. The calf is 38 inches tall, weighs 251 pounds -- and is healthy and adorable.

"Mother and baby are both doing very well," Martha Fischer, curator of mammals at the zoo, says in a statement. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around well."

This is the fourth baby for the father named Raja -- who was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo. More photos below.

Ellie gave birth to the new baby girl on Friday at 10:57 p.m., the zoo says. This is her third baby.

  • Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo

Raja, who is now age twenty, has his own three-generation family with daughter Maliha, born in 2006, Jade born in 2007 and Kenzi born in 2011.

The zoo says that Ellie and her new baby "spent the night quietly bonding."

The two are not yet on public display and that debut date has not been set. The zoo also says that it will soon announce a naming poll through social media.

More from Fischer's statement:

An experienced mother and grandmother, Ellie was, of course, very nurturing, caring for her newborn baby from the very beginning. She did a great job of carrying and giving birth to a beautiful baby girl.

The Zoo's elephant care team has been busy preparing for this baby for the past two years. It's so rewarding to have made it to this day.

She also notes that elephants form "deep family bonds" and live in tight matriarchal family groups of related females, such that this new female youngster "further cements these strong ties and mirrors the natural family structure for Asian elephants found in the wild."

The birth of the new baby comes after two months of "24-hour pregnancy watch."

Check out more photos below.

  • Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo

Continue for more photos.

  • Katie Pilgram/Saint Louis Zoo

And more of the zoo's Asian elephants:

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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