There’s a new elephant in the room at Melbourne Zoo.
Surrounded by other female members of the zoo’s tightly bonded Asian Elephant herd, mother Dokkoon gave birth about 1am on Wednesday.
The gender of the calf is yet to be determined, but the zoo has released images of the new addition.
“It is such a joy to welcome this beautiful elephant calf to our herd and to witness its first interactions with its mother and other members of the herd,” Melbourne Zoo’s Erin Gardiner said in a statement.
“We are giving mother and calf all the quiet time and space they need to bond and develop their relationship with one another and the herd.”
The calf is the first to be born at Melbourne Zoo through natural conception. First-time dad Luk Chai arrived from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in December 2020.
It is the first of three calves expected in coming months for the herd, with two other elephants nearing the end of their 22-month pregnancies and expected to give birth in early 2023.
The simultaneous pregnancies mean the calves will be raised by the entire herd.
The newborn will be named over coming weeks through a competition for Zoos Victoria’s 350,000 members.
It’s yet to be decided when the calf will be introduced to zoo visitors.
Asian elephants are endangered and Zoos Victoria is part of a regional breeding program.
The zoo’s entire herd, including calves, will move to Werribee Open Range Zoo in 2024, following completion of an $88 million expansion.
(Australian Associated Press)