Rainer Leiss

Two days old elephant baby and her mother

The wait at the Vienna zoo is over: After a gestation period of 645 days has elephant Tonga brought her baby to the world on 4 September. Birth is running quickly and easily. " Tonga is the matriarch of our herd and generally a very balanced animal. While she was giving birth with her daughter Mongu on the grounds ," said zoo director Dagmar Schratter . The little pachyderm is a female.

For the 28 -year-old Tongan who lives at the zoo since 1998 , it is the second offspring. In 2003, she brought Mongu to the world. With clumsy steps of his mother , the young animal follows every step and is nursed about every half hour. The elephant keepers will now consider three names. In the coming days on the website of the zoo can be matched .

For the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the coordinator of the European studbook for African elephants , it is the fourth birth of an African elephant. Worldwide, this elephant birth is a sensation. Schratter : " It is the first calf that was conceived through artificial insemination with frozen semen His father is a cop in the Phinda Game Reserve in Africa. By a new technique, which was developed by a team of the Berlin Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research , the semen collected in the bush could be frozen and successfully thawed ."

Artificial insemination is now routine in African elephants - but only with fresh or chilled semen . To transport the sperm of a wild bull of Africa in a European zoo , but it had to be frozen. But the sperm of elephants are extremely sensitive. Only two cases had resulted in a fertilization frozen and thawed material. However, both pregnancies ended early.

This method provides a great opportunity to refresh and breed successfully , other endangered species in captivity the gene pool of zoo elephants .

The little elephant is the positive result of a successful collaboration with the Berlin- Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research ( IZW ) , the Zooparc de Beauval and the Pittsburgh Zoo .

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