Janita’s pregnancy will last 22 months, which is the longest period of gestation for a mammal on earth, with the calf expected to be born in summer 2016. Prague Zoo has been ranked as the seventh best in the world, and can be visited by those in the city on luxury European river cruises, who may be able to witness the new-born calf next year.
This will only be the second time an elephant calf has been born at Prague Zoo since its opening in 1933, but it is also hoped that a second elephant cow, Tamara, will be pregnant by August. The first calf to be born in the zoo arrived in February 2013, who was delivered by Donna, an elephant from Vietnam.
Two exciting new arrivals expected in 2016
When both animals are born, they will be kept company by six other elephants called Gulab; Shanti; Donna, and her two daughters; and Mekong. This will see the zoo’s elephant population become 10 and they will be housed in a stable designed for that number of elephants, which was built three years ago and cost €19.6 million.
Janita and Tamara were both gifted to Prague Zoo from Sri Lanka for the people of the Czech Republic, and were transported by plane to the wildlife park in October 2012. The same aircraft then took two Komodo dragons, two Przewalski horses, and two hippos as a gift for the Dehiwala Zoo in Sri Lanka.
The gifting of elephants from Sri Lanka to Europe has a long history of more than four centuries, with the first presented to the King of Hungary in the 1550s, which took 18 months to reach its destination. However, it now only took 23 hours for Janita and Tamar to make it to Europe from Sri Lanka.
Image Credit: Paul Keller (Flickr.com)