Newborn baby elephant takes his first wobbly steps under the watchful eye of his mum shortly after being born.
The astonishing video – recorded at the Blijdorp Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands – shows the mum in labour as other tuskers gather around to help her.
As the calf emerges, the other elephants can be seen forming a protective huddle as they clean up the newborn, wiping off the afterbirth with their trunks.
Shortly after he was born, the calf struggles to his feet and shelters under his mother’s tummy, peering out from behind her legs.
The footage then shows the youngster sticking close to his mother as he gets used to the enclosure.
The zoo said in a statement that the images show the elephant mother, Faya, and “the first steps of her son”, who has not yet been named.
The zoo added: “The elephants form a close, social family. They stay close together and protect the calf.
“The inexperienced Faya gets a lot of support from her mother Bangka, who has already raised three healthy calves. It’s her first pup, but she’s doing really well already.”
The zoo added: “An Asian elephant, a male, was born in Diergaarde Blijdorp last night (October 9) at 4:08 am.
“For mother Faya this is her first young. Mother and baby are doing well. They get all the rest today to get used to each other. The Taman Indah indoor residence is therefore closed to the public.”
The zoo added: “It is the sixteenth healthy elephant born in Rotterdam. Fortunately, the delivery went well.
“An elephant baby weighs on average about 80 kilos at birth. The gestation period for an elephant is about 22 to 24 months. All in all, it took a while…”
The zoo explained that it is normal for the baby calf to be born with other members of the group present.
They said: “The young are born indoors, in the group, according to the natural situation. Faya is well supported by her mother Bangka, who has now become a grandmother for the first time. The Blijdorp family has a close social structure.
“There are now seven elephants in Blijdorp: the Irma family line with Irma, Faya and Bangka, the little Radjik and the newest addition.
“Four generations are represented in Blijdorpand that is a fairly unique situation worldwide. Apart from the family, there are two other elephant females: Trong Nhi and Nhi Linh. A bull (male elephant) does not interfere with the upbringing and lives separated from the family both in zoos and in nature.
“Only in the mating season does he seek out the females. Father Fahim came to Rotterdam especially for breeding but has since moved to Copenhagen.”
Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are listed as an endangered species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Their population in the wild is estimated to be about 50,000 individuals.
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