Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby girl elephant born to Ringling Bros.

VIENNA , Va., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation Tuesday announced the birth of a healthy female Asian elephant.

This marks the 21st birth in what Ringling Bros. describes as "the most successful Asian elephant breeding program in the Western Hemisphere."

Baby Sundara, which means "beautiful" in Hindi, was born Nov. 9 and weighed in at 310 pounds. She is the offspring of 39-year-old Sally and 35-year-old Charlie.

Sally has given birth before as part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey breeding program. Sundara has four other siblings, two of which were born at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. Kelly Ann, 12, and Rudy, 6, are both touring with "The Greatest Show on Earth" circus.

"There are fewer than 35,000 Asian elephants remaining in the world and these magnificent animals are struggling to survive so each elephant born at Ringling Bros. is a celebratory step toward the preservation of the species," Kenneth Feld, founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation, said in a statement. "Since 1992, 21 elephants have been born into Ringling Bros. care and that is a lifetime commitment that we take very seriously."