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‘Miracle’ of Sydney’s baby elephant

‘Miracle’ of Sydney’s baby elephant
March 11, 2010

A baby elephant thought to have died in its mother's womb was "miraculously" born alive at Taronga Zoo yesterday morning.

Two days after Taronga Zoo announced its Asian elephant Porntip had lost her male calf during a difficult labour, the zoo announced the calf was born alive.

Taronga Zoo's Director, Cameron Kerr explained "her dedicated keepers reported the amazing news early this morning, that the calf had been born and was showing signs of life, to Taronga's veterinary team, who immediately rushed to the elephant barn to assist Porntip and the calf.

"The long-standing, detailed plans were immediately put into place to support the calf in its very delicate situation.

"Porntip is with the calf as her keepers and the veterinary team work to support them both.

"His health is being monitored and it is still too early to know if the calf will survive long term."

Zoo spokesman Mark Williams added "the Asian Elephant calf born unexpectedly at Taronga Zoo ... is receiving intensive care from its keepers and the veterinary team, and is still with its mother, Porntip."

Overnight the male calf has been progressing well, suckling and standing independently and being supported by its mother - Porntip and her calf remaining in a heated elephant barn while it is being cared for by the elephant birth team. This is good news as Williams had explained that "the first 24 hours for this calf are critical if it is to survive, and the elephant keeping team and senior vets are providing round-the-clock care to both Porntip and her calf."

Porntip, whose name means 'eternally blessed' in Thai, arrived at Taronga Zoo in 2006 from work camps in Thailand and was included in the zoo's conservation breeding program.

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