On May 22, a three-week-old Asian Elephant calf met her fans for the first time at the Saint Louis Zoo. Born April 26, the female calf, named Priya, was with her mother Ellie and older sister Maliha at her debut.
Photo Credit: Ray Meibaum (1, 2, 3); Saint Louis Zoo (4)
During her first days of life, Priya met her aunties and older sisters who warmly welcomed her into the three-generation family. As an experienced mother and grandmother, Ellie has provided excellent care for her calf.
This is Ellie’s third baby and the fourth for the baby’s father Raja, the first Elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo.
The Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants. “Because Asian Elephants are so endangered in the wild, the birth of this Elephant is important to the conservation work we do with other North American zoos,” says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Together AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian Elephants to maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as demographically stable as possible.
“There are only between 35,000 and 50,000 Asian Elephants left in the wild, and they are facing extinction. Given the shrinking population of Asian Elephants, the Saint Louis Zoo shares a common vision with other professional Elephant conservation organizations and with our Elephant care colleagues—a vision that includes Elephants in the world’s future forever, both in zoos and in the wild.”