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Saturday, 10 June, 2000, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Elephant born online
Newborn elephant in Zurich Zoo
Up to 46,000 people are thought to have watched
A Sri Lankan elephant has given birth at Zurich zoo, in what officials said was the first elephant birth broadcast live on the internet.

The baby male, which weighed about 140 kg (308 lbs), took his first steps about 15 minutes after his birth.


new born baby elephant
He was born late, after three hours of labour
The little elephant arrived about three hours after his mother, Ceyla-Himali, had gone into labour and several weeks after her original due date.

The zoo director, Alex Ruebel, said the zoo had alerted 46,000 people who had asked to be informed when the birth was starting.

Endangered species

Two fixed cameras inside the elephant house recorded the event in sound and vision.

It was Ceyla-Himali's fifth calf. The zoo said that mother and baby were both doing well.


Elephant Birth
Elephant pregnancies last 21 months
Labour may last more than two hours
Baby elephants weigh between 75 and 150 kg
Mr Ruebel said that the baby would be named through a competition held with the help of a local supermarket chain.

"It has to be an Asian name which is not used for humans," he said, adding that the zoo wanted to use the process to teach people about Asian elephants and their home.


elephant and new-born baby
The zoo says mother and baby are doing well
Asian elephants, which have smaller ears than African ones, are now an endangered species with only 35,000 left roaming the forests as humans increasingly encroach on their habitat.

Ceyla-Himali arrived in Zurich Zoo in 1976 at the age of about eight months, and gave birth to her first baby eight years later. She has now had five babies - two females and three males - all fathered by Maxi, a male elephant at the zoo.

A live human birth was captured by a webcam in June 1998, when a 40-year-old Florida woman gave birth to a boy.

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See also:

06 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Indian minister's elephant alert
01 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Elephants 'killed as aphrodisiac'
30 Dec 99 | UK
New dawn for webcams
17 Jun 98 | Americas
Baby born on the web
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