Mother elephant does all she can to try and save newborn baby: Footage shows animal desperately try to nudge and rouse calf born at Swiss zoo.. but the little one eventually loses battle for life

  • Fahra, a 17-year-old endangered Asian elephant, gave birth at Zurich Zoo 
  • But the newborn calf was very weak as Fahra tried to revive it with her trunk
  • The baby passed away a short time later despite the mother’s efforts 

This is the heartbreaking moment a mother elephant does all she can to rouse her newborn baby at a Swiss Zoo – but the little one eventually loses its battle for life.

The endangered male Asian elephant was born at the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park in Zurich Zoo on January 14 to his mother, 17-year-old Farha. 

The calf’s grandmother Ceyla-Himali was also present for the birth. Zurich Zoo said that even in the wild births take place in the family circle. 

The footage shows the initial joyful moment that Fahra gives birth to her calf – but it soon turns into a devastating fight to save the newborn’s life. 

The footage firstly shows the initial joyful moment that Fahra gives birth to her calf – but it soon turns into a devastating fight to save her newborn’s life

The clips show Fahra experiencing contractions after being induced and the baby is finally born

Elephants have the longest gestation period of any living mammal and Farha was pregnant for 22 months – meaning the arrival of the endangered baby Asian elephant was highly anticipated by zoo staff. 

The clips show Fahra experiencing contractions after being induced and the baby is finally born. 

At first the calf appears to move around a little but the already doting mother instinctively notices that something is wrong and starts to nudge him with her foot. 

The Swiss zoo said that the baby was ‘very weak’ from the moment he was born.  

Fahra desperately but gently uses her trunk to stroke her infant and check over his ears, face and body.

She also puts the end of her trunk in the baby’s mouth – which, according to Elephant Aid, happens often between close family members and friends. 

Fahra desperately but gently uses her trunk to stroke her infant and check over its ears, face and body. Zookeepers had fired a pink medical dart into the calf to try and help

Elephants have the longest gestation period of any living mammal and Farha, pictured just before giving birth, was pregnant for 22 months

The site adds that ‘virtually all’ close elephant interaction involves the trunk. 

The zoo said the mother and grandmother tried to revive the baby with care and consideration as they tried to get the calf to move and drink.

Vets also tried to give it medicine but it tragically passed away a short time later. 

Zurich Zoo said in a statement on January 16: ‘The expected elephant birth in the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at the beginning of the year did not have the desired outcome.

‘In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the 17-year-old elephant cow Farha gave birth to an elephant bull. Unfortunately, the calf died shortly after birth due to weakness.’

A pathological examination into the cause of the death is expected to take place.

Before the birth: Fahra (left) is with her mother Ceyla-Himali in the management area of the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park

Here the vet team did an ultrasound to check on Fahra’s progress during labour. The zoo said she was closely watched and monitored before and during the birth

It is the fourth death of an elephant in the park after three elephants died from the elephant herpes virus last year.

Experts do not provisionally believe the virus was responsible for the death of the latest baby.

The zoo said Farha was closely monitored and observed before and during the birth. 

Asian elephants are endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching for their tusks and skin. 

They are smaller than their cousins, African Elephants, but still range from 6 foot to almost ten feet tall. 

The Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park in Zurich Zoo is regarded as one of the most modern facilities in Europe, and is part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP).

It is home to a number of Asiatic elephants and offers underwater views of elephants swimming as one of its main attractions.  

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