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Travel

Tierpark Berlin introduces new elephant baby

Berlin is delighted to welcome a baby elephant born in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Today members of the press were invited to take pictures of the new addition - and treated to an unexpected surprise.

It turns out the pint-sized pachyderm is a boy, and not a girl, as originally reported! But the zookeepers might be forgiven for needing a little time to get it right. In the case of elephants, their male member is hidden in a pouch when not in use, so the sex of an animal is not perfectly obvious, Zookeeper Mario Hammerschmidt told the press.

Last weekend the new elephant calf revealed himself to be energetic and curious while charming visitors. The small Asian elephant weighs about 100 kilograms and is doing well, said curator Christian Kern. He’s sticking close to his mother and drinking milk at regular intervals.

The young calf has not yet been named. He was born during Berlin’s lively New Year’s celebrations without the assistance of veterinarians or zookeepers, who had expected him to arrive at the end of January. An elephant pregnancy generally lasts 22 months. This was the fifth birth for 32-year-old mother Kewa. The baby’s father, a bull called Ankhor, was moved to Prague Zoo in August 2014. This is the first time an elephant cow was not separated from the herd before giving birth at Tierpark Berlin.

There are now six African and seven Asian elephants at home in the elephant enclosure. Asian elephants reach maturity between the ages of 15 and 17 years. A cow can weigh up to 2.7 tons, a bull as much as 5. Asian elephants come from the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia and live to be about 40 in the wild. In zoos and sanctuaries they’ve been known to reach 70 years.

fm / ks (dpa)