Mon, July 06, 2009
Lifestyle > Travel

Asian elephant, endangered species, born in Sydney

2009-07-06 01:43:27 GMT2009-07-06 09:43:27 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A one-day-old male Asian elephant calf walks with its mother Thong Dee at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, July 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Bobby-Jo Vial)

A one-day-old male Asian elephant calf stands next to a zookeeper at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, July 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Bobby-Jo Vial)

A one-day-old male Asian elephant calf stands close to its mother Thong Dee at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, July 5, 2009. (REUTERS/Bobby-Jo Vial)

A two-day-old baby elephant pushes against mother Thong Dee at Sydney's Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Monday, July 6, 2009.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

A two-day-old baby elephant huddles under his mother Thong Dee at Sydney's Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, Monday, July 6, 2009.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

BEIJING, July 6 (Xinhuanet) -- A male Asian elephant was born in Sydney's Taronga Zoo early Saturday and is healthy, according to media report Monday.

The 265-pound (120-kilogram) calf, big-eared and long-nosed bundle of joy is welcomed in Australia as an important step in helping to save the endangered species. The calf was born to Thong Dee, one of a group of elephants brought to the zoo from Thailand in 2006.

The calf is generating many curious responses from among its herd. They're reaching into Thong Dee's pen to try to touch the little elephant with their trunks.

The group of elephants is part of an international breeding program that aims to preserve the genetic diversity of the Asian elephant.

The species is listed as endangered in the wild, with only an estimated 34,000 animals left across the continent.

Two other elephants in the Taronga Zoo group are also pregnant and are due to give birth next year and in 2011. Elephants' 22-month gestation period is the longest of any mammal.

(Agencies)

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