In the early morning on January 17, 2013, 13-year old female “Num-Oi” gave birth to her first offspring. The large bull calf (131 kg) was born after 5 long, difficult nights of labor without human help in the outdoor enclosure. This is noteworthy since this was the first group birth at Melbourne Zoo. During the birth, “Num-Oi” was in accompanied by female “Kulab” and her male calf “Ongard”. This was the 3rd elephant birth in Melbourne since 2010; father of all calves is 38-year old bull elephant “Bong Su”. All calves are the result of artificial insemination because “Bong Su” is not mating with the females.
A video of the birth and the first moments that is well worth seeing after can be found here:http://www.news.com.au/travel/news/melbourne-zoos-num-oi-gives-birth-to-baby-elephant/story-e6frfq80-1226555586277?from=public_rss
“Num-Oi” demonstrates in an impressive way that an elephant in labor needs space to move freely. It is likely that the birth wouldn`t have ended up successfully if the mother had been chained or confined in a small stall(for further information: “Chaining, Free Movement or Group Birth” – in German) . However, it is incomprehensible why the elephant keepers feel the need to enter the enclosure directly after the birth, trying to touch mother and calf. It doesn`t seem that “Num-Oi”, who shows competent mothering skills from the very first moment and is not at all aggressive towards her calf, finds this human attention helpful.