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Baby Elephant Said To Be Regaining Appetite, Personality

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA
The curious calf touches a camera lens with her trunk while on display during her public debut at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium in July.

Officials at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium say a baby elephant's appetite is improving following insertion of a feeding tube to help it gain much-needed weight.

Zoo spokesperson Tracy Gray said the still-unnamed female calf is taking in more food through the tube "and she's also taking more bottles."

On Saturday, the zoo posted on a blog devoted to the elephant that the baby had taken a short walk "and we're beginning to see her feisty personality return."

The baby was born prematurely in May at the International Conservation Center in Somerset County and was rejected by the mother, forcing the zoo to feed it with a bottle.

Officials said teething then led to diminished appetite, leaving the calf in critical condition and prompting insertion of the feeding tube.

The calf's outlook seemed grim when zoo officials first announced her condition last week. 

"We're very, very, very worried about her," zoo director Barbara Baker said, while choking back tears during a press conference. "We're crossing our fingers and really praying hard that she'll make it." 

Zoo officials said they also reached out to several conservation centers for advice, including the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is located in Nairobi, Kenya, and cares for orphaned elephants and fosters rehabilitation

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