Melbourne Zoo is celebrating the birth of a baby male elephant after the shock death of another calf in an accident at the zoo last week.
Asian elephant Dokkoon went into labour just after midnight and gave birth to her second calf at 2.40am (AEDT).
The calf was standing within minutes with the help of keepers who supported him in a harness.
He suckled for the first time shortly after 7am and reportedly took to it enthusiastically.
The calf is a baby brother for Mali, the zoo’s first-ever elephant calf who was born in 2010.
Dokkoon is the first elephant in Australia to give birth for the second time.
The events come as welcome news after the shock death of 11-month-old elephant calf Sanook, at the zoo this week after he became tangled in a suspended tyre and stopped breathing.
Zoo director Kevin Tanner says the past week’s events are unprecedented in the zoo’s history.
“The shock and distress of the loss of calf Sanook on Wednesday, followed by the relief and delight at this birth have meant a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us, and especially the elephant keepers,” he said.
“They have conducted themselves with the utmost dedication and professionalism throughout this momentous week.”