ROTTERDAM - In Rotterdam Zoo is born tonight a young elephant. Mother Irma and small are doing well, zegt een woordvoerder. "The animal looks healthy"

The elephant weighs about 90 tot 100 kilos and it is one meter high. Whether it's a son or a daughter, it still can not set the keepers. Also the young mother Irma and Ramon father's name is not yet published.

It is the first time that a young elephant was born in a Dutch zoo. It is also a world first. It is unprecedented that two elephants born in captivity had a small elephant.

The pregnancy lasted about Irma 22 months. The keepers had expected the birth would take place later this month.

According to the management childbirth is fairly quickly and do not need help keepers. The night watchman noticed that a little one was born during his round. When was the little elephant all around on its own two feet.

Zoo has installed a camera in the elephant house. The images show that the elephant for 01.29 h is born. The birth lasted no more than thirty seconds.

"Irma dropped slightly by the hind legs to her young, of still ongeveeer hundred kilos, dropping gently from the web. Immediately thereafter rolled the baby with trunk and legs through the straw to clean it. Then began - completely by the book - to encourage the efforts of the small to stand on its own feet. It had succeeded in twenty minutes. " (Het Vrije Volk, 18-06-1984)


Irma accepts the child. Mother and child are mostly rested. Actually, that's not necessary, said Chief Nursing Elephants French 't Hart at Het Vrije Volk:

"I think she's certainly calmed. She normally did when I gave her fresh straw and accepted my apples, but the boss would like to admit anyone. " (French 't Hart, Blijdorp, Het Vrije Volk, 18-06-1984)

When the small for the first time the public will be visible is not yet known. For now the people have to make do with a monitor.

It remains to small go suckle. Elephants are raised with the bottle, have almost always cause intestinal problems. These problems are often fatal. It is so exciting hours for the Blijdorp.

Hoe ging het verder?

It took until Saturday half past three until the elephant for the first time the mother went drinking. Thereafter happened that almost every hour, and it is usual.

Op 13 July might Bernhardine and mother Irma first out. Thus Zoo was a massive public attraction richer.

Baby elephants Bernhardine first time outside in Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam. Foto: Marcel Anthonisse, National Archives / Anefo

The elephant was named Berhardine. She was named after Prince Bernhard. She continued to 1995 in the Rotterdam zoo. She then moved to the zoo in Muenster, in the hope that they would become pregnant. Eind 1999 she came back pregnant from Germany, but the calf was stillborn. A second calf did come alive in the world, in 2002, but this elephant was no older than eleven months.

Four years later Bernhardine moved to Dublin, where she still lives. They got a third calf, Asha.

elephant Irma, mother Bernhardine, still lives in Blijdorp. She celebrated in 2015 her 45th birthday. Father Ramon is deceased from a brain haemorrhage 1998, shortly after mating. His skeleton is still on display at the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam.

In captivity

Bernhardine is not the first elephant to be born in captivity in Netherlands. In 1939 has already been born an Elephant, but it happened in a German circus gave performances at the RAI in Amsterdam. The elephant moved to Artis was almost 30 jaar.


Het Vrije Volk, 16-06-1984 – Gezong young elephant for Irma!

TVNZ, 16-06-1984 – Elephant in zoo of Rotterdam born

Het Vrije Volk, 18-06-1984 – Daughter Irma quickly see

Telegraph – 18-06-1984 – Elephant born at Zoo

De Volkskrant – 18-06-1984 – Zoo elephant birth in unique

Het Parool – 18-06-1984 – Is it a boy or a girl?



Author: Dave Datema

published: 16-06-2018

story number: 72

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