Experts have been “astonished” after an elephant was born three months late at Chester Zoo.
Anjan, a rare baby elephant in Asia, was born at 25 months.
Scientists believe that the elephant’s mother Thi Hi Way, who was a great-grandmother and the matriarch of the herd, lost her baby because the normal gestation period for an Asian elephant is about 22 months.
But Thi gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and both are “extremely well” two weeks after the baby was born.
Anjan became the seventh member of the Hi Way family at Chester Zoo and the ninth Asian elephant in total.
The name was chosen in honor of Anjan Nath, one of the leading conservation figures the zoo works with on a project in Assam, northern India.
The project succeeded in eliminating conflict between local communities and nearby Asian elephant populations, providing a blueprint for the future conservation of the species.
The infant is a big boost for the breeding program of endangered species, with Asian elephants threatened with extinction.
Asian elephants are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, threatened by habitat loss, p.oac.hing, disease, and direct conflict with humans.
Conservationists from Chester Zoo have been working to combat these threats in elephant native India for more than 12 years, using skills and knowledge developed working with elephant herds in Chester.