This stunning footage shows how an African elephant that had been pregnant for a whopping 653 days finally gave birth at a zoo in Spain.
Bioparc Valencia resident Matla gave birth naturally in the early hours of 9th November. Her calf is the first African elephant to be born in Valencia.
Footage shows how mum and son shared a tender moment after the birth, with Matla apparently caressing her newborn with her trunk.
Staff at the zoo told how the delivery only lasted a few minutes, following two-and-a-half to three hours of contractions.
Matla is kept at Bioparc Valencia as part of the EAZA Ex-situ Programme, formerly called the European Endangered Species Programme.
The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) – the species Matla and her son belong to – is listed as ‘endangered’ on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.
The other extant African elephant species – the African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) – is listed as ‘critically endangered’.
In a statement obtained by Newsflash, Bioparc Valencia said: “This morning [9th November], on the 653rd day of pregnancy and under the influence of the full moon, elephant Matla gave birth in a completely natural way to the first African elephant calf in the Valencian park.
“The spectacular images of these first hours are being experienced with great emotion by the entire technical team, which is maintaining intensive surveillance.
“At the moment, the upbringing and behaviour of the mother and its precious baby are proceeding normally.”