California IN BRIEF : SAN DIEGO : Fetal Examination of Elephant Fails

From Times staff and wire service reports

Veterinarians at San Diego's Wild Animal Park were seeking the right equipment to check on the welfare of a fetus that has been in an elephant's womb for nearly two years. Jean, a 19-year-old Asian elephant, has been pregnant for 725 days, and veterinarians do not believe she will deliver a live fetus. But park officials said they need to know the status of the fetus before deciding whether to induce labor or allow nature to take its course. The veterinarians performed an endoscopy on the elephant last week, but the 5-foot-long instrument used to get a glimpse of the fetus was not long enough to reach the mother's uterus. The average gestation period for Asian elephants is between 618 and 648 days.

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