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Dedicated Keepers Help Elephant Calf at Ostrava Zoo

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Keepers at Ostrava Zoo in the Czech Republic are working hard to help care for an Indian Elephant calf born on February 4. The male calf, the second offspring born to 17 year-old mother Vishesh, should have started nursing within the first 24 hours of his birth, but he does not seem to have developed the sucking reflex he needs.  Keepers at the zoo are working to keep the calf nourished and to encourage him to nurse from his mother. 

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Photo credit: Zoo Ostrava

See a video of mother and calf:

Zoo keepers managed to carefully separate the calf from his mother for a short period of time to feed him a daily dose of elephant milk substitute through tubing. Then the calf was returned to his mother. The process is risky for caregivers because the mother elephant is very protective. The tubing must be inserted and removed with great care and skill. Zoo staff hope to do the best for the calf, but must also take their own safety into consideration. They have also tried to encourage the calf to nurse on his own. 

The elephants are being monitored by cameras as well as by two overnight caretakers, who stay on hand to keep an eye on the calf's progress. 

See more photos after the fold.

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