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Thousands receive news of elephant birth by e-mail

Over 46.000 people have been told about the birth of a male Asian elephant via e-mail and SMS at Zurich Zoo. The mother elephant, Ceyla-Himali, gave birth after 690 days without any complications.

It is the fifth sibling for the mother, Ceyla-Himali. Her baby was delivered after just two-and-a-half hours of labour and after just a quarter-of-an hour the young elephant was on his feet. All this was transmitted live on the Internet.

The web-event was part of a campaign to highlight the dwindling number of Asian elephants throughout the world, currently estimated between 40.000 and 50.000.

The new addition to the Zoo's elephant population does not have a name yet. However, members of the public have been invited to enter a name competitition.

According to Zurich Zoo's director, Alex Rübel, mother and son were well. He said, "The baby is 108 centimetres tall and weighs around 140 kilogramms. So far, there are no indications that he is infected with the commonplace Herpes virus, which many Asian elephants contract."

Last November the two-year-old elephant, Xian, died unexpectedly at the Zoo following a Herpes infection.

swissinfo with agencies


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