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250 pound baby coming soon to Saint Louis Zoo

Zoo backers want to build a breeding facility and outdoor attraction offering a safari-like experience in Spanish Lake.
Stephanie Richmond | St. Louis Zoo

The Asian elephant herd at the Saint Louis Zoo is about to grow again.

The Zoo announced today that Ellie is pregnant with a female calf. It's her fourth pregnancy and third birth - she miscarried in 2010 at 36 weeks. The typical elephant pregnancy lasts about 22 months, so Ellie's latest calf is due in the spring of 2013.

The Zoo says typical newborn elephants weigh between 250 and 350 pounds.

Raja, the 19-year-old bull elephant born at the Zoo in 1992, is the father. Raja also fathered Ellie's 6-year-old daughter Maliha, and Ellie's two granddaughters - Jade, who was born in June 2007 and Kenzi, who was born in June 2011.

The Zoo's Curator of Mammals, Martha Fischer, says everyone is looking forward to the birth.
"Ellie has proven to be such a caring mother and a doting grandmother, and we are optimistic that everything will go well," Fischer said in a statement.  "One she arrives, the new calf will get lots of attention from Maliha and Jade. Both have a lot of practice helping to to take care of Kenzi."
Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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