Baby Asian Elephant Born After Mother Was Pregnant for More Than 2 Years

Playing Elephant Gives Birth to Calf 3 Months After Due Date

If you thought being pregnant for nine months was bad, try it for more than two years.

A baby Asian elephant was born at the Chester Zoo three months late, which left its mom, Thi Hi Way, pregnant for 25 months before delivering.

"Nature always has that incredible ability to surprise you," the zoo’s collections director, Mike Jordan, said in a statement.

With the longest gestational period of all mammals, an elephant is expected to carry a baby for about 95 weeks, or a year and a half.

Jordan explained that when zookeepers noticed Thi Hi Way missed her due date, they assumed she was resorbing her calf, a process of the fetus breaking down within the womb. It's a process many elephants in the wild go through.

“Her hormone levels, her behavior and drop in weight gave us every indication she may have been resorbing the calf,” he said.

But, the calf arrived earlier this month in an uneventful delivery, surprising zookeepers.

"The new youngster was up on his feet, suckling from mom and bonding closely with the rest of the family herd," Jordan said.

The new addition marks an important milestone in conservation, the zoo said. Asian elephants, native to South and South East Asia, are endangered in the wild due to habitat loss and poaching.

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