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Preemie Baby Elephant Rejected by Her Mom Will Be Hand-Reared by Keepers

Playing Preemie Baby Elephant Rejected by Her Mom Will Be Hand-Reared by Keepers

Zookeepers have stepped in to take care of a baby elephant born premature after her mother couldn’t take care of her.

Read: Baby Elephant Snuggles With Rescued Ostrich Who Thinks She's Part of the Herd

Seeni, a 21-year-old African elephant, gave birth to a female calf last week. 

Because the unnamed newborn was born nearly a month premature, Seeni was unable to produce milk, and was unable to care for her calf.

Officials were also worried she wouldn’t know how to be a mother for the baby, since she was orphaned herself, and rejected her first calf.

Luckily, keepers at the Pittsburgh Zoo stepped in to hand-rear the calf themselves.

“Our first concern was to ensure that the calf was okay,” zoo president Dr. Barbara Baker said in a statement. “Being born one month early, she weighed only 184 pounds, which is 52 pounds below the median birth weight of a calf born full-term.”

She will be bottle-fed milk by keepers, and watched closely for signs of infection.

Read: Dive Right In! Fiona the Hippo Swims Around Zoo Enclosure and Reaches New Milestones

The calf, which is not yet on display for public viewing, will be introduced to the other elephants at the zoo and hopefully integrated into the herd.

“This is not a decision that you ever want to have to make, but the health and welfare of the calf was our top priority," said Willie Thieson, the zoo's elephant manager. "Once she is bigger and stronger, we will begin introducing her to the herd. I know they are very curious about her, so that is a good sign.”

Watch: Endangered Neon Green Chicks Join Zoo's 'Baby Boom' of Rare Animals

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