Friday 26 December 2014

Zoo's new baby weighs in at an impressive 80kg

Clodagh Sheehy

Published 21/07/2014 | 13:27

Giving birth to an 80kg baby was a smooth affair for 21-year-old mum Yasmin.

Dublin Zoo's latest baby Asian elephant, only four days old, was presented to the public this morning.

The baby is Yasmin's third calf, and the birth had been eagerly awaited by zoo staff for several weeks.

Keepers had created sand "pillows" to keep Yasmin as comfortable as possible in the last few days of her 22-month pregnancy.

A 24-hour "birth-watch roster" had been set up to make sure everything went smoothly, and the baby finally arrived last Thursday night.

Yasmin's calf is the first of three expected at the zoo this year.

Her older sister, Dina, is also pregnant, as is Yasmin's 10-year-old daughter, Anak.

The three new babies are expected to draw thousands of visitors to the zoo, and will do its international reputation as a breeding centre no harm.

Dina produced the zoo's first elephant calf since it opened in 1830 when she gave birth to Asha in 2007.

A year later Yasmin gave birth to bull calf Budi.

Asian elephants are endangered, and it is estimated that only 30,000 to 40,000 exist in the wild.

The birth of the latest elephant follows the arrival of a 1.7-metre-tall baby Rothschild giraffe in May.

The Rothschild species is one of the most threatened of the nine giraffe species.

Two meerkat pups and a Goeldi monkey have also been born in recent weeks at the zoo, which is one of the city's biggest tourist attractions - last year it was visited by a record 1,029,417 visitors

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