A rare Asian Elephant has been born at Chester Zoo, and the whole delivery - as well as the first moments between the baby and the herd - were caught on closed-circuit TV.
The male calf arrived to 20-year-old Sithami Hi Way on January 17 after a 22-month gestation and a 20-minute labor. Keepers – who stayed up late to monitor the birth live on CCTV - say mom and her calf, who is yet to be named, are doing well. The healthy new arrival was born onto soft sand and was on his feet and nursing within minutes.
In the video, you can see Sithami stimulating her newborn calf and encouraging him to get up by kicking up sand around him. The rest of the herd then gathers around and helps the baby up.
The calf has been welcomed by the rest of the Elephant herd, including his future playmates: one-month-old baby Indali Hi Way and one-year-old half-sister Nandita Hi Way.
Asian Elephants are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Chester Zoo conservationists are working in India to protect the species from human-wildlife conflict. The new calf is an invaluable addition to the breeding program for this species.
Asian Elephants are threatened by habitat loss due to logging, agricultural and urban development; poaching for ivory, disease, and conflict with humans. As their natural habitat is lost, more animals are wandering into farmed areas causing crop damage. Increasing numbers of people have also died as a result of Elephant encounters, leading to retaliatory hunting by some communities.