The mother, named Tamar, was in labor for four hours, at which point a live internet broadcast of the birth was halted and veterinary staff decided to hasten the birth. Two hour later the calf was born – healthy and weighing 198 pounds.
The baby elephant, its birth, and a live broadcast of it with its mom during daylight hours can be viewed by clicking here.
The baby elephant is the first to be born in Israel, and just the 11th Asian Elephant on earth to be born through the complex fertility method.
Zookeepers were concerned that the fact that Tamar was raised in captivity would preclude the 21-year-old elephant from bonding with her child. The mother and child quickly bonded, however, and they can be seen on the zoo's web site.
An endangered species after being hunted throughout the ages for the ivory in their tusks, less than 50,000 Asian elephants now exist worldwide. The Biblical Zoo currently is home to one male and four female Asian elephants. Their names are Teddy (after former Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek), Susan, Avigail, Michaela and Tamar. All of the females of the herd came from Lampang in Thailand, while Teddy hails from the Safari Park in Ramat Gan.
The Biblical Zoo, which displays animals mentioned in the Bible alongside specific passages referring to them, was also recently blessed with the birth of a new giraffe, named Shelly (pictured below).
Mother and child at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo.
(Photo: Ruti Schueler)