ENTERTAINMENT

Ellie, Saint Louis Zoo's Asian Elephant, Gives Birth; Adorable Calf Takes First Bath (VIDEO)

04/30/2013 11:37 am ET

Tipping the scales at 251 pounds, the Saint Louis Zoo's newest addition is a whole lot of cuteness rolled into one very gray, wrinkly package.

"Mother and baby are both doing very well," Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer said in a statement released by the zoo. "The baby appears healthy and is already walking around well. ... The Zoo's elephant care team has been busy preparing for this baby for the past two years. It's so rewarding to have made it to this day."

This is Ellie's third baby, reports the St. Louis Riverfront Times. The elephant's father, Raja, has now sired four children. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The baby will be named after a public vote, according to the zoo's website. The choices are Cai (meaning feminine), Violet, Willow, Harper or Priya (meaning dear, beloved). Voting ends May 5.

A critically endangered species, Asian elephants are the world's second largest land animal, after their slightly larger African cousins, according to National Geographic. Female elephants, who can live to be 60 years old, carry their babies for almost 22 months.

According to a 2012 investigation by The Seattle Times, Ellie's baby is lucky in several respects. The infant-mortality rate for elephants born in zoos is 40 percent, triple the rate in the wild.

Also on HuffPost:

Zoo Babies 2012


Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS