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Zoo awaits arrival of elephant calf

Date

Stephen Cauchi

Num-Oi has a bit of a scratch in December.

Num-Oi has a bit of a scratch in December.

Melbourne Zoo is about to welcome a new elephant.

Thirteen-year-old Num-Oi is in labour and her offspring is due any day now, said Melbourne Zoo curator Jan Steele.

‘‘Num-Oi’s doing fine. She’s taking her sweet time about this pregnancy,’’ said Ms Steele.

‘‘I would think she’s probably going to be giving birth in the next 24 hours.’’

Num-Oi came to the zoo from Thailand in 2006. Her mate is Bong-Su, who was born in Malaysia in 1974.

Ms Steele said Num-Oi had been positioning her calf for birth.

‘‘Elephants are unusual in that the calves come out back-feet-first,’’ she said.

‘‘She’s spent the last two days twisting the baby around and putting it in the proper position for birth.’’

The pregnancy - Num-Oi’s first – came via artificial insemination due to difficulties with Bong-Su mating naturally.

Melbourne Zoo has five elephants– four females and one male –  and two calves. All of the zoo’s elephants are Asian. Another calf is expected in November.

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