SYDNEY, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Zookeepers at Australia's Taronga Western Plains zoo in Dubbo of New South Wales (NSW) have welcomed a healthy 95 kg male Asian elephant calf.
The calf was born at 15:50 local time (AEDT) on Wednesday to mother Thong Dee and father Gung in a behind-the-scenes paddock where keepers and vets were on hand throughout the labor.
"This is tremendous news for the Australasian conservation breeding program for Asian Elephants," NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said in a statement on Thursday.
"I'm delighted to report that mother and calf are doing well and veterinarians are happy with the calf's progress at this early stage," he said.
Taronga's zoo keepers said the calf was standing on its own within 30 minutes of being born and began suckling within hours.
The calf is the second for Thong Dee, who gave birth to Australia's first baby elephant, Luk Chai, in 2009.
"Thong Dee and the calf are in good health and are spending time together in the elephant barn," Taronga zoo's elephant supervisor Glenn Sullivan said.
The birth of the calf follows a successful breeding program it started 10 years ago to turn around the decline of Asian Elephants numbers.
The zoo said both mother and calf will be given time to bond further before making their public debut, adding that a competition will be announced soon to find a suitable name for the baby elephant.