After a pregnancy lasting almost 23 months, Shanti, a 24-year old Asian Elephant at Houston Zoo, delivered a healthy 385-pound (174.6 kg) male calf on February 7!
The calf, named Duncan, is doing well, and recently had his first outdoor adventure. He spent about 90 minutes outside on February 10, spending some quality mud-time with his mom Shanti, his Aunt Methai, his half-brother Baylor, half-sister Tupelo, and Tupelo’s mother Tess.
It takes a lot of work to get ready for an elephant birth. Attended by the Houston Zoo’s elephant care team and assisted by the zoo’s veterinary staff, Shanti delivered her baby at 2:13 a.m. on February 7.
“After months of preparation and tender loving care, Shanti’s labor was very brief and the delivery was quick and easy for her,” said Houston Zoo Large Mammal Curator Daryl Hoffman. “The keepers helped the calf to his feet and he was standing on his own within about an hour after his birth,” he added.
“The calf started nursing at nine this morning,” said Hoffman on the day of the birth. “In the first 90 minutes after his first meal we saw him nurse more than 15 times. Duncan has a very good appetite.”
Immediately after the calf was born, the elephant care team and the Zoo’s veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam.
“We weighed and measured the calf and took a blood sample.” said Houston Zoo Chief Veterinarian Dr. Joe Flanagan. “Duncan is almost 40 inches (1 m) tall at the shoulder."
Elephant keepers will keep Shanti and Duncan under a 24-hour watch for the next few weeks. The viewing windows in the barn at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat are temporarily closed to the public. The windows will reopen to the public after the elephant care team has seen signs that Duncan is well-bonded with his mother and is comfortable in his new home. Duncan is Shanti’s fourth calf. Thai, the baby’s father, is 48 years old.
See and learn more after the fold.