The moment an endangered baby elephant was born and struggled to her feet has been captured on camera by staff at the UK's largest zoo.
The not-so-tiny infant was born to mum Donna at around 7am on Monday, surrounded by the rest of the females in the herd at Whipsnade Zoo.
Captured on hidden cameras in the zoo's Centre for Elephant Care, footage shows the calf being encouraged on to her feet by her mum and grandmother soon after being born.
She then takes her first wobbly steps - thanks to a few gentle nudges.
Mark Howes, Whipsnade Zoo’s deputy team leader of elephants, said: “To say we’re delighted by the arrival of this calf is just a huge understatement – it’s a massive success for Donna, for the herd at Whipsnade Zoo, and for elephant conservation full stop.
"This little infant is a really important addition to the European-wide endangered species breeding programme for Asian elephants.
“We were able to watch the birth via our hidden cameras, and it was amazing to see grandmother Kaylee step in to show Donna how to break the amniotic sac that the baby was born in and move the rest of the herd out of the way to allow the little one to stand up for the first time."
Elephants are considered by conservationists to be one of the most persecuted species in the world, facing threats in the wild from poachers, conflict with the communities they live alongside, droughts, as well as habitat loss and degradation.
Asian elephants are classified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
Mr Howes added: “We’re one of the few conservation organisations working around the world to protect all three species of elephants – Asian elephants, African elephants and African forest elephants.
"Our herd play an active role in our conservation work, from helping us to develop new technologies to educating our visitors - every visit to see our elephants really is an act of support for their conservation.”
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