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Pittsburgh Zoo Has Hope for Elephant

September 15, 1999

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Keepers at the Pittsburgh Zoo hope a 200-pound bundle of pachyderm joy beats the odds that run against African elephants born in zoos.

Zoo officials have announced that after 22 months of gestation and an hour and 15 minutes of labor, a 17-year-old captive-born elephant had given birth to a spry female calf late Sunday.

None of four African elephants born in captivity in North America since 1987 _ including a male calf stillborn to another mother at the Pittsburgh Zoo in 1998 _ lived more than a year.

This time the calf and mother appear to be fine, but officials are keeping their fingers crossed, said Pittsburgh Zoo Director Barbara Baker.

``This is a girl, so she is important to the breeding population,″ Baker said.

Officials will keep the cow and calf out of public view for a few days to give them time to bond, Baker said.

``We will get her out on public display as soon as we have a comfort level with the mom and the baby doing well,″ she said.

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