An Asian Elephant, named Dokkoon, has given birth to her second calf at Melbourne Zoo in Australia. Born on December 8, the calf is a male weighing in at an incredible 289 pounds (131 kg).
Dokkoon went into labor shortly after midnight and keepers were on hand to help the young calf to take his first steps within a few minutes of the birth. He suckled for the first time shortly after 7 a.m. and has been feeding with enthusiasm ever since.
Both mom and baby are doing well and beginning to bond. The calf is the zoo's fourth Asian Elephant birth and a baby brother for Mali, the zoo's first-ever elephant calf, born in 2010. In the coming days and weeks, the young calf will begin the process of being introduced to the rest of the herd.
Photo credits: Melbourne Zoo / Andrew Griffiths
Asian Elephants are an Endangered species, threatened by habitat loss caused by human expansion and conflict. Poaching for ivory is also a major concern. As a member of Zoos Victoria, Melbourne Zoo is a not-for-profit that engages in conservation programs, ranging from captive breeding of endangered species to research and promoting public awareness. You can adopt an animal (like this Elephant calf!) or make general donation to the zoo's conservation initiatives.
See more photos after the fold!