CCTV captures rare Chester Zoo elephant birth

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Media captionThe first moments of the elephant's life were filmed by the zoo

CCTV footage has captured the moment an Asian elephant was born at Chester Zoo.

The unnamed female calf was born to 12-year-old mother Sundara after a 22-month gestation.

Keepers at the zoo said both mother and daughter were doing well and visitors would be able to see the new arrival, which has increased the herd to seven.

The calf is the 19th elephant to be born at Chester Zoo in its 85-year history, with five, including the new calf, part of the same family.

Elephants are born into captivity in the UK only once or twice a year, and Asian elephants are listed as endangered.

Image copyright Chester Zoo
Image caption the female calf will be named in the coming days

Richard Fraser, assistant team manager of elephants at the zoo, said: "As soon as Sundara began showing early signs of labour, you could see the rest of the family knew something special was about to happen.

"She delivered her calf on to soft sand with all the family gathered around.

"Sundara then gave her a series of little kicks to gently stimulate and encourage her to her feet.

"Minutes later, the new arrival was up and standing and making her first attempts to suckle."

Living to about 50 to 60 years old, there are between 35,000 and 40,000 in the wild and managed breeding programmes.

Image copyright Chester Zoo

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