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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:29 PM   #1
Brenda
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Default Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

Thirteen years ago St. Louis welcomed the first baby elephant to be born at the St. Louis Zoo. The baby, a male named Raja, has been the star of the zoo ever since. I still remember waiting in line to see the baby. Well, now our baby is a daddy! Raja’s first daughter was born a few weeks ago – a girl – and she is going to be out in the yard for the first time! I’ve been really busy, but here are the various updates from the last few weeks! Be sure to click the links – there are cute photos!

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Zoo welcomes 341-pound bundle of trumpeting joy
Shawn Clubb
Of the Suburban Journals
08/09/2006

The Asian elephant herd at the Saint Louis Zoo welcomed a new member last week when Ellie gave birth to a 341-pound girl.

The baby is the first offspring of 13-year-old Raja, who was the first elephant born at the zoo. It is the second for Ellie, whose daughter, Rani, is pregnant by Raja.

Martha Fischer, curator of mammals at the zoo, said both Ellie and child are doing well. She said Ellie showed no outward signs of labor until about 20 minutes before her water broke and she delivered.

"She had to have been having some sorts of contractions. It was a quiet labor. She was stoic about it," Fischer said.

Fischer said Ellie's first delivery was similar when she had Rani at the Jacksonville Zoo.

"We have now a nice family group with Ellie, Rani (and the baby)," Fischer said.

When Rani's child is born, Fischer said, it would be a stabilizing unit in the herd. She said they form family social groups in the wild, which is comforting to the animals and allows them to learn from each other.

Other female elephants, Rani, Sri and Donna, were housed next to Ellie as she gave birth and they were able to witness it. They could see and touch the calf right away, Fischer said.

"It was a great experience for Rani to witness her mother go through birth -- to see how she was nurturing and protecting her calf," Fischer said. "(Rani) will have a better understanding of how she should behave with her calf."

The birth was exciting for the elephants and they trumpeted and roared, Fischer said.

The staff at the zoo was also happy. Fischer said they were nervous and hoping everything went well with the birth.

Sri was pregnant, but her fetus died. She still carries it inside her. She will eventually expel the fetus.

Raja, his mother, Pearl, and Clara are in the outside yards. Fischer said the calf and the rest of the herd would remain inside until they are ready to come out.

"We will try to get her out as quickly as we possibly can. We will let Ellie and her calf and the rest of the herd tell us. We'll read their comfort level and not push them onto exhibit," she said.

The calf is still exploring her area. She has learned to stand and nurse from her mother, Fischer said. The calf is still trying to figure out her trunk.

She was born 690 days into gestation. The range for Asian elephant gestation is 612 to 699 days. She was in the upper range of the typical birth weight, which is 250 to 350 pounds.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:30 PM   #2
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Baby elephant will go public on Friday
By Diane Toroian Keaggy
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/21/2006

The still-unnamed baby elephant at the St. Louis Zoo will make her debut Friday at the River's Edge.

Officials say the best time to visit the calf will be between 9 and 11 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m., though she may stay outside all day if the weather is mild. The calf will roam the River's Edge center yard with mother Ellie, sister Rani and "aunts" Donna and Sri.

Visitors may take photographs, though docents will keep the line moving.

Both Ellie and her baby are doing very "extremely well," said Martha Fischer, curator of mammals. "Ellie is a great mother."

That was evident today as Ellie doted on the 346-pound baby as she toddled between her mother's legs. The baby would wander off a few steps, learning to use her trunk as she poked at hay, then scurry back to mom.

Some 10,500 visitors welcomed Raja, the calf's father, when he made his first public appearance 13 years ago.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:30 PM   #3
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Elephant baby almost ready for debut
By Diane Toroian Keaggy
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/22/2006

The wait is almost over to meet the new elephant calf at the St. Louis Zoo. After her mother's 23-month pregnancy plus a three-week bonding period, the calf finally will meet the public starting Friday.

Keepers say the best time to visit is 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m., though she may stay outside all day if the weather is mild. Docents will alert the public if the calf must move inside.

Zoo officials can't predict how long lines will be to visit the calf. Some 10,500 visitors welcomed Raja, the calf's father, when he made his first public appearance about 13 years ago on a chilly January day. Spectators may stop to visit and photograph the baby elephant, but docents will try to keep the line moving.

The still unnamed elephant has been exploring her River's Edge yard in the evenings after the Zoo closes. She sticks close to Ellie, her mother, though she will wander off a foot or two to play with branches. Since her birth Aug. 2, the calf has mastered nursing, swimming and running.

"Sometimes she moves so fast, she stumbles a little bit," said mammal curator Martha Fischer. "She has a hard time putting on the brakes."

The calf now stands 41 inches tall, weighs 346 pounds and is gaining about 2 pounds a day. She will nurse exclusively for months, though she likes to pick up hay and branches with her trunk.

Raja, the calf's father, will stay in the west elephant yard; Pearl and Rani can be seen in the east yard.

The Zoo is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Labor Day, then 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the year. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.stlzoo.org or 314-781-0900.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:31 PM   #4
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Zoo wants help in naming baby elephant
08/15/2006

The St. Louis Zoo is asking area residents to help pick the name of its new elephant calf. Elephant keepers selected five names for the naming contest. They all are easy to pronounce and reflect the calf's Asian heritage. The choices are:

Sundari (SOON-dar-ee), which means "beautiful woman."

Nisha (NEESH-ah), which means "night."

Maliha (MAH-lee-hah), which means "strong" and "beautiful."

Sashi (SAH-shee), which means "moon."

Jaya (JAY-ah), which means "victorious."

Votes may be cast online at www.stlzoo.org or www.kmov.com, or by sending a postcard marked "Vote for the Baby Elephant" to KMOV, 1 Memorial Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63102. Name, age, address, daytime phone number and name selection should be included.

Voting concludes at noon Aug. 28. The contest winner will be randomly selected from among those who voted for the top name. The winner will receive a private visit with the elephant, a Zoo membership, an elephant gift basket and other prizes. Only one vote per day is allowed. Parents should submit votes from children younger than 18.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:31 PM   #5
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Meet Lil' Miss Elephant
By Diane Toroian Keaggy
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
08/23/2006

Listen to St. Louis Zoo president Jeffrey Bonner go on about the new Asian elephant at the River's Edge.

"She has such long, gorgeous legs," Bonner gushed. "At 341 pounds, she's a big baby, but she's so delicate and graceful - really tall and beautifully proportioned."

Is he describing an elephant or America's next top model?

Elephant lovers can finally meet the yet-to-be-named beauty starting Friday.

The calf will roam the River's Edge in the early mornings, late afternoons and perhaps the hours in between if the temperature remains relatively mild.

Visitors must enter at the start of the River's Edge path, which winds past the capybaras - the world's largest rodent, the absolutely grotesque Red River hog and the graceful hippos before arriving at the elephant yards.

Raja, the baby's father, will stay in the west yard. The baby; her mother, Ellie; her sister Rani; and "aunts" Donna and Sri will explore the center yard. Pearl and Clara will roam the east yard.

Docents will keep the line moving, offer information about elephants and let visitors know when the baby will leave her yard.

"We'll let Ellie decide when it's time to go in," Zoo spokeswoman Janet Powell said.

She said the best hours to visit are from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. However, the calf may leave the River's Edge quickly if bad weather strikes.

The Zoo recommends visitors park in the south lot and follow signs to the River's Edge.

Zoo officials are prepared for thousands of visitors to welcome the calf, just as they did 13 years ago when Raja, the calf's father, made his debut. On that chilly January day, more than 10,500 people lined up outside the old elephant house.

Bonner imagines the public will embrace this calf, too.

"She's prettier than any baby elephant I've ever seen," Bonner said. "People will love her."
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Old Aug 23 2006, 01:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

And for some really cute photos, and videos of the baby nursing and bathing (splashing, anyway!) go to this link!

Baby elephant cuteness! ~
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Old Aug 23 2006, 03:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

That puts new meaning to the words big baby! And she is cute, too.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 05:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

The baby's adorable, thanks for sharing this with us! It sounds like that zoo is really trying to do things the right way for these animals.
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Old Aug 23 2006, 06:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

Yes, St. Louis is very proud of our zoo. It was one of the first to use moats rather than bars and cages to separate animals and people. Last year a new outdoor facility was opened for the chimpanzees and orangutans - most of whom had never before been outside. They're still getting used to it.

Also, admission to the zoo is completely free!
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Old Aug 24 2006, 12:09 AM   #10
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

Been a long time since I've been to the St Louis Zoo. Wish I could go see the baby! Thanks for the info Brenda!
Do you work for the zoo or are you just a major fan? Sorry if you've given this info before, but I don't remember so well.
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Old Aug 24 2006, 01:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: Our baby’s a daddy! New arrival at the St. Louis Zoo

Just a major fan of the zoo and the new baby! The zoo's probably changed a lot since you've been there - it's almost completely different than when I was a kid. Mostly for the better.
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