Elephants are the greatest animal in the world and any time a new elephant is born onto the planet there should be a celebration.
Lucky for us, a brand new baby Asian elephant is about to drop right into the 314. Saint Louis Zoo elephant Rani is expecting, and we should see her little one make its debut this summer. Rani has been gestating a new little one for close to two years now. Elephant pregnancies last for 22 months because good things take time and elephant babies are the very best of good things.
Elephant calves generally weigh about 300 pounds at birth and newborns and are able to stand on their own within minutes of being born. In the wild, that skill is essential to their survival. And while maybe we’d prefer that all wild animals lived and birthed out on their own, in many cases that is just not possible. Animals with injuries or ones that were rescued from bad situations frequently can’t return to the wild and breeding programs are often important to species survival.
Elephant societies are complicated and caring, with the oldest females running the show. Rani has given birth before and her caretakers expect that she will be a loving and caring mother. She’s getting extra attention from her caretakers and vets currently, including close monitoring of her progesterone levels as her pregnancy progresses.
And the father of the not-so-wee one? That’s none other than Raja. His birth at the St. Louis Zoo 27 years ago was a sensation in a way that only existed in pre-internet days. In addition to the huge contest held to name him, it seemed that all of St. Louis was on the edge of its seat awaiting his birth.
This will be Raja’s fifth offspring and his third with Rani. To follow Rani’s journey, check out her dedicated page at STLZoo.org
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