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Watch: Asian elephant gives birth at Belgian zoo

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A newborn Asian elephant stands next to her mother in a Belgian zoo
A newborn Asian elephant stands next to her mother in a Belgian zoo -
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REUTERS/Margaret Madro
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Aye Chan May, a 23-year-old Asian elephant, gave birth to her first calf this week at the Belgian zoo of Pairi Daiza.

The new arrival does not have a name yet as the zoo will put this decision to the public through a vote on social media.

Zookeeper Rob Conachie, who is in charge of elephants at Pairi Daiza, said the birth of the female calf was unexpectedly fast.

"She was showing me no signs at all of wanting to give birth at that time, but within minutes, I could already see the bulge at the bottom of her tail and you could see them starting to push," he told Reuters.

Conachie, who has been taking care of elephants for more than 20 years, said there are only around 38,000 Asian Elephants left in the world, making each birth a crucial event for the breeding programme of the species.

The zoo, which is currently closed to the public for the winter season, re-opens on April 6 and is expecting a new resident in the autumn — a baby rhinoceros.