The first baby elephant in Melbourne Zoo's 147-year history was born early yesterday to the delight of tired but ecstatic Zoo staff. After weeks of round the clock monitoring, and enormous anticipation, Asian Elephant Dokkoon became the first elephant in Australia to give birth to a female calf and also to deliver a baby conceived by artificial insemination.
Melbourne Zoo Director Kevin Tanner said that he is extremely proud of the team that has brought about this amazing result.
"From the time the veterinarians conducted the successful artificial insemination, during the outstanding care provided over the 22-month pregnancy, to the historic birth early this morning, our staff have shown tremendous commitment and expertise."
While we are all thrilled with the safe arrival, Mr Tanner said, there has been no time for celebrations.
"The calf was alert and active from birth, and since then the dedicated elephant team have been focussing on allowing mother and baby time to recover from the birth and to establish a bond.
"It is vital that they have time to themselves so we need to ask the community to be patient and understand why Dokkoon and baby are not on display as yet.
"They will remain in the barn for a while until the vets and curators are comfortable that they are ready to go outdoors."
Melbourne Zoo is home to Australia's first-ever female Asian Elephant calf. The calf was born at 1:10am on Saturday, and she is doing well. In addition to being the first female Asian Elephant born in Australia, she is also the first of her species conceived via artificial insemination to be born in Australia. Melbourne Zoo's long-time resident Bong Su is the father of the calf.
The calf is the first offspring for both parents. Mother and calf are at present spending quiet time together in the Elephant Barn and may go outdoors later this week. Please check this website for the announcement of when mother and baby will be on view.