Baby Elephant

Friday, May 4th 2007, 10:08 am
By: News On 6

HUGO, Okla. (AP) _ An 8,300-pound elephant and her newborn, who was 280 pounds at birth, are doing well at a breeding compound and retirement center for elephants in Hugo. Val was born to Whimpy after nearly 12 hours of labor on April 27 at the Endangered Ark Foundation. This is the third birth at the center, which was founded by D.R. Miller, whose family started the first Hugo-based circus.

``We have them in the barn right now. The baby is doing well. She's nursing, and her mom is taking good care of her,'' said Tim Friscia, manager of the foundation.

Although Miller died in 1999, his family has continued to work toward his vision of having a breeding center for Asian elephants. Asian elephants are an endangered species and can't be imported.

The gestation period for elephants is about 22 months. Once the baby elephant is born, it will nurse for 18 to 24 months, Friscia said.

The father is Tommy, a 12-year-old who also lives at the compound.

Whimpy and Val will stay in the facility's barns for a few more days before being moved outside to a special pen, Friscia said.

Male elephants have little to do with the caretaking of their offspring. Most of the rearing is done by the mother and other female elephants.