La Belle, a seven-year-old Asiatic elephant, gave birth to female calf, handlers at the Safari Park discovered Friday morning.
The birth followed a 22-month-long gestation period.
The father is Motek, a 53-year-old Asiatic elephant. The maternal grandmother, 25-year-old La Petite, is behaving in a pushy manner since the birth and has tried to suckle the calf. Handlers explained that since this is La Belle's first birth, her mother may be trying to teach her how to care for the calf.
The calf appears to be in good shape, said the handlers, who added that they hope that she will soon begin to suckle from her mother, so that they will not have to get involved in what they called “the family saga.”
Asiatic elephants are an endangered species and every successful birth is important for keeping it alive.