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Hamburg welcomes new addition to elephant herd

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Hamburg welcomes new addition to elephant herd
The baby elephant is still to be named. Photo: DPA
11:35 CEST+02:00
The elephant herd at Hamburg's Hagenbeck Tierpark (Zoo) is now ten strong after mother Yashoda gave birth to a baby girl on Monday following a 23-month pregnancy.

Yashodo certainly took her time to bring the little one to the world – 688 days in total – a long time even for an elephant.

Elephants are normally pregnant for between 630 and 690 days, but Yashoda seems to like to leave it late. With her second calf she also took 688 days.

The baby, who has yet to be given a name, is still not very secure on her feet, but she's been getting support from the whole family, who wander in to help her up whenever she falls down.

Hagenbeck spokeswoman Sabina Bernhardt told The Local that because the baby girl is so healthy, a vet hasn't yet been in to weigh and measure her.

Photo: Götz Berlik/Tierpark Hagenbeck

But newborn calves generally weigh around 100 kilos and stand around a metre tall at birth.

"Elephants live in a matriarchal society. In the wild they live in groups of animals that are all related," Bernhardt said.

Zoo staff hope the newborn will one day be "the leading cow of our future herd."

Photo: Götz Berlik/Tierpark Hagenbeck

But before starting on her long journey to becoming a matriarch, the baby will go through two years of nursing from her mother.

"Baby elephants drink about 20 litres of mother's milk a day," Bernhardt said.

"That means that the mother has to drink about 200 litres of water - 100 for herself, 100 for the baby - while she's nursing."

The zoo is letting the public take part in the naming process. Suggestions can be emailed to their media partner hamburg.de and the zoo will then pick out their favourites, which the website users can then vote on.

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