Keepers said they were “saddened and disappointed” by the death, after the excitement surrounding the pregnancy of first time mum, 26-year-old Asian elephant Hoa.
Hoa, who keepers at the Saxony zoo had identified as inexperienced, attacked her newborn shortly after she gave birth. Keepers are not sure whether that was why the calf died, or if he was stillborn.
“After weighing up all the risks we decided on a birth plan we felt was the safest, and was the least stressful,” zoo director Jörg Junhold told Die Welt.
“Nevertheless, the level of disappointment and sadness among the keepers is high,” he added.
According to reports from the zoo, the birth was very quick and Hoa was taken away from her public enclosure to recover in private. Her calf weighed 130 kilogrammes.
She will be integrated back into the small heard of elephants at Leipzig zoo as soon as possible.
The last elephant calf to be born at Leipzig zoo was in 2002, and before that there had not been a birth in 66 years.
The father of the calf born on Monday, Naing Thein, has already fathered 15 babies and was brought to Leipzig in 2009. Hoa has lived in the heard since 1987 when she arrived as an infant.