An Asian elephant calf is due to be born any day at the St. Louis Zoo, cause for both celebration and concern amid the backdrop of a deadly herpes virus.
The virus has killed about 25 percent of Asian elephants born in North American zoos in the past three decades. Some animal rights activists told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it is irresponsible to breed elephants knowing the presence of the virus in the herd.
The Asian elephant herd at the Saint Louis Zoo is about to grow again.
The Zoo announced today that Ellie is pregnant with a female calf. It's her fourth pregnancy and third birth - she miscarried in 2010 at 36 weeks. The typical elephant pregnancy lasts about 22 months, so Ellie's latest calf is due in the spring of 2013.
The Zoo says typical newborn elephants weigh between 250 and 350 pounds.