Elephant

The Columbus Zoo And Aquarium Family Grows By Two With Births Of Elephant Calf And Sea Lion Pup

There was a flurry of activity overnight at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as staff welcomed two little ones—an Asian elephant calf and a California sea lion pup! These exciting births are important milestones and offer hope for the future of these species that are at risk in their native range.

Asian Elephant Calf 7560 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo credit: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Asian Elephant Calf

On Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 8:48 p.m., the Zoo welcomed the much-anticipated birth of a male Asian elephant calf in the Zoo’s Asia Quest region.

As an experienced mother, 33-year-old Phoebe is providing exceptional care to her big bundle of joy. The calf appears to be strong and was observed nursing shortly after birth. While he currently prefers to stand closely between Phoebe’s legs, the calf is also starting to be curious of his surroundings behind the scenes in the Zoo’s elephant and rhino building. He is rather vocal, sometimes emitting a low grumble, and he continues to test out his trunk though he hasn’t quite yet sure figured out how to use it to its fullest potential. Phoebe has remained patient with him and calmly responds to the care team as they observe her and her baby.

Throughout her 22-month pregnancy, the Zoo’s Animal Care team monitored Phoebe closely. Thanks to the incredible bond she shares with her care team Phoebe voluntarily participated in regular ultrasound imaging, which enabled staff to monitor the calf’s development.

The purchase of endocrine equipment in 2018 by donor, Johanna Destefano, allowed the Animal Health team to run daily progesterone tests for Phoebe so they could more accurately predict the birth. On Sunday, June 13, Phoebe’s bloodwork showed that her progesterone levels had dropped enough that the Animal Health and Animal Care teams knew that the birth would happen sometime within the next 72 hours. The Animal Care team shifted from checking Phoebe via remote camera every two hours to monitoring her around the clock and working overnight shifts in the building, where they could be ready to assist as necessary.

Phoebe’s delivery went smoothly, and the arrival of this recent calf is also offering hope for Asian elephant conservation efforts. The pairing of Phoebe and 33-year-old father, Hank, was recommended by the Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. While Phoebe and Hank had the opportunity to breed, this has been unsuccessful in the past and she was artificially inseminated. Artificial insemination is carefully coordinated by animal health experts and enables an elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While this is still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, most successful elephant artificial insemination attempts (approximately 20 in total) have occurred with African elephants. Artificial insemination is very uncommon with Asian elephants, with less than 10 successful outcomes. Two of these scientific achievements have occurred at the Columbus Zoo (with the first time occurring in Phoebe in 2016). Attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations continue to rapidly decline in their native range.

Phoebe came to the Columbus Zoo in January 2002 and resides alongside the other five Asian elephants in the Asia Quest region—males Hank (this calf’s father) and Beco (Phoebe’s son), and females Connie, Sunny and Rudy. This calf is Phoebe’s fourth calf born at the Columbus Zoo and her fifth calf overall. Her last calf, Ellie, sadly passed away a few weeks after her birth in 2018 due to a bacterial infection despite aggressive treatment by the Animal Health team and outside specialists. Just two other live Asian elephants have been born at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history–Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo, and Beco, who was born in 2009 and is still a part of the Columbus Zoo elephant herd.

To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area. When they show they are ready, they will also slowly be introduced to other members of the herd. The Zoo will announce viewing information—as well as more information about the calf’s name—for guests as it becomes available.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species,™ Asian elephants are listed as endangered in their native range across southern and southeastern Asia and are in decline due to various factors including habitat loss/degradation and poaching. The World Elephant Day organization estimates there are fewer than 40,000 Asian elephants and less than 400,000 African elephants remaining worldwide.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a long-time supporter of several direct elephant conservation initiatives benefitting both African and Asian elephants, including annual donations to the International Elephant Foundation and several research projects and grants over the last 25 years. Many of these projects have focused on reducing human-elephant conflict and monitoring elephant populations in their native ranges. Additionally, Columbus Zoo staff leads AZA’s SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) Asian Elephant Program, an AZA initiative to leverage their large audiences and collective expertise to save animals from extinction. Zoo guests can also learn about elephant conservation and how they can contribute to the sustainability of this endangered species at the Zoo’s Elephant Conservation Station inside the “Vanishing Giants” building located in the Asia Quest region. Zoo veterinary staff also participate in a national Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) advisory group. The group aims to prevent, diagnose and treat this potentially fatal disease that affects elephants in their native range, and in human care.

Sea Lion Pup (Lovell) 7676 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

California Sea Lion Pup

During the early morning hours of June 17, 2017, the Zoo’s Pinniped team in the Adventure Cove region also had cause to celebrate with the arrival of a sea lion pup!

The pup was born to experienced mom, Lovell, who will be turning 6 years old in July. Lovell is being very attentive to her nursing pup, whose sex has not yet been determined. The pup is already quite active but won’t be ready for swim lessons with mom until Lovell determines her calf is ready. For now, they will continue to bond behind the scenes.

Lovell arrived at the Zoo along with nine other sea lions (six males, three females) and four harbor seals (one male, three females) on May 17, 2020. Because the sea lions all live together for most of the year in a strong social group and there are several males, the father of the pup is currently unknown and will be determined through a blood test.

This most recent pup is the third sea lion pup ever to be born at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The first sea lion pup, a female named Sunshine, was also born to Lovell on June 25, 2020. Sunshine still resides at the Columbus Zoo and has become independent of Lovell, making friends with other sea lions. The second sea lion pup at the Columbus Zoo was born to mom, Baby. When the team noticed that male pup, Norval, was not gaining enough weight, they stepped in to assist Baby by providing Norval with supplemental tube feedings. He continues to thrive, and Columbus Zoo guests can sometime catch him with Sunshine and another sea lion, Banana.

Guests can find the sea lions at the Zoo’s newest region, Adventure Cove, which opened in 2020. Thanks to the support of voters who passed the last levy and contributions from generous donors, the Columbus Zoo began construction in October 2017 on this brand-new, state-of-the-art region. Adventure Cove features a Pacific Northwest-inspired rocky coast and harbor setting for the sea lions and seals; Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, a colorfully-themed and immersive village highlighting animals from all around the world; and updated existing attractions.

Adventure Cove also furthers the Zoo’s commitment to sea lion rehabilitation initiatives led by institutions accredited by the AZA. The Columbus Zoo has provided financial support for years for rescue and rehabilitation efforts by The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito, Calif., and the Zoo’s Animal Health staff have trained with the MMC to nurse stranded and injured marine mammals back to health while expanding their knowledge of sea lions and seals.

Although California sea lions are not listed as a species of concern, the situation for sea lions in their native range is increasingly dire because there are a rising number of pup strandings. As climate change forces the mothers to hunt further away from shore, more of them are not coming back, leaving pups orphaned and unable to care for themselves. The MMC takes in many of these animals and works to restore them to health.

While Lovell and her pup will likely stay in the behind-the-scenes area for the near future to continue to bond and so that Lovell and the sea lion care team can ensure that the baby meets all of the important growth and development milestones (including swimming) before graduating into the larger habitat, guests who reserve a Behind the Marina Sea Lion Tour will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the pair and learn more about this intelligent, playful species. The experience is one of several new offerings designed to further inspire guests to connect with wildlife and take action to help protect these species’ future. Additional information can be found on the Zoo’s website under the Tours and Virtual Experiences page


Bouncing Baby Boy Elephant, Teddy, Born At The Houston Zoo

Just two months after baby elephant Winnie was born, there’s a new pachyderm in the herd! Sunday at 8:04 p.m., 37-year-old Asian elephant Tess gave birth to a 391-pound male, and the calf began to nurse within hours. The calf has been named Teddy by the team who have dedicated their lives to the care, well-being, and conservation of these incredible animals.

“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Teddy and Tess bond, and introducing him to Houston.”

Tess gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. She and the calf will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes before they are ready for their public debut. During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like communicating with mom and hitting weight goals.

Tess is also mother to Tucker (16), Tupelo (10) and Tilly (2), and grandmother to Winnie, born March 10. This calf raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 13—six males and seven females.

Over the next several years, the Zoo animal care team will watch the young elephant for signs of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV). EEHV is the most devastating viral disease in elephants worldwide. It occurs in elephants in the wild as well as those in human care such as in sanctuaries and zoos.

The Houston Zoo is an integral part of finding treatments and developing management strategies for the virus. The Zoo’s veterinarians and elephant care team established a research collaboration in 2009 with herpes virologist Dr. Paul Ling at Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Virology and Microbiology, which recorded significant advancements in the study of EEHV, and toward a vaccine.

The Houston Zoo’s EEHV testing methods, treatment protocols, and experience serve as a global elephant care resource and have contributed to saving elephant calves around the world.

Just by visiting the Houston Zoo, guests help save baby elephants and their families in the wild.  A portion of each Zoo admission and membership goes to protecting wild elephants in Asia. The Zoo provides support, equipment, and training for local researchers to place satellite collars on wild elephants and track them in Asia.  The Zoo’s Malaysian conservation team is now watching over and protecting three groups of wild elephants with babies in Borneo. The data collected from these groups will inform future national protection plans for elephants.


Baby Elephant Birth Caught On Camera!

On Saturday, April 24, at 5 a.m., the long-awaited birth of a little elephant at the Budapest Zoo occurred. The calf is the third for twenty-something Angele, and the eighth born at Budapest Zoo. Thanks to night vision cameras placed in the “maternity room,” Zoo Budapest was able to capture the moments of birth. These were also closely monitored by the newborn’s brother, three-year-old Arun. Although it seems as if Angele was trying to kick the newborn, this behavior is natural for elephants: this is how they help the little one get out of the placenta. Shortly after his birth, the little one got to his feet well and began to nurse. Although Zoo officials can't measure the calf’s weight exactly, experienced experts estimate it to be around 80 kg.

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It’s A Girl! Asian Elephant Gives Birth At The Houston Zoo

Less than a year after Houston welcomed Asian elephant calf, Nelson, a new kid is on the block! On March 10 shortly after 11:00 a.m., 10-year-old Asian elephant Tupelo gave birth to a 284-pound female calf, and she began to nurse within a few hours. The calf has not yet been named; her name will be announced on the Houston Zoo’s social media channels. 

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“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Tupelo and her baby bond and introducing her to Houston.”  

Tupelo gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. Mother and baby will undergo continued post-natal exams and spend several days bonding before they are ready to join the rest of the herd. During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like nursing and hitting weight goals.  

This is the first calf for Tupelo, whose pregnancy was the result of artificial insemination since she is related to all the male elephants at the Zoo. The calf raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 12 – five males and seven females.

Just five days after her birth, Winnie, the newest member of Houston’s Asian elephant herd, took her first steps with mom, Tupelo, and the rest of the herd.

Just by visiting the Houston Zoo, guests help save baby elephants and their families in the wild.  A portion of each Zoo admission and membership goes to protecting wild elephants in Asia. The Zoo provides support, equipment and training for local researchers to place satellite collars on wild elephants and track them in Asia.  The Zoo’s Malaysian conservation team is now watching over and protecting three groups of wild elephants with babies in Borneo. The data collected from these groups will inform future national protection plans for elephants.


Baby Elephant Kiran Turns 1 at Zoo Leipzig

One year ago today Zoo Leipzig’s little elephant bull was born. Mother Rani's son was given the name of Kiran. His weight development in particular caused a lot of concern for a long time. Now Kiran weighs 333 kg and is an integral part of the flock. Leipzig put together scenes from his first year - and Kiran enjoying his birthday box together with his birthday guests.

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81344110_3012122818806553_3069247221007384576_o

Happy Birthday!

Would you like to send Kiran a birthday present? You can donate symbolic treats at www.zoo-leipzig.de/spendenaktion


Newborn Elephant Otto Explores His Home

Tierpark Hellabrunn's Elephant Temi became a mum for the second time last week, and since then the early movements of her new calf have become somewhat of a routine: Otto drinks, explores his surroundings with his little trunk and even lets his mum get some sleep.      

On Tuesday, Otto was allowed to explore the spacious indoor area of the Elephant House for the first time - naturally always accompanied and under the watchful eye of mum Temi - where he curiously observed how Temi used her trunk to drink from the large bathing pool.

Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)
Elefant Otto_Hellabrunn_2020_MarcMüller (3)

“The little one is developing splendidly”, says Elephant House zookeeper, Lorenz Schwellenbach. “He moves confidently and already knows how to use his little trunk. Many baby elephants are much clumsier than Otto at this age."

He has also been drinking well from the start. The baby elephant drinks regularly with his mum, about 10 - 15 litres a day. In addition, the zookeepers were able to observe during their night watch that both Otto and Temi have relaxed sleep patterns. “Elephants can sleep while standing or lying down. For the past few nights, Temi has slept lying down, which is a good sign and shows that mother and calf have an optimal relationship so far.

The night watch routine began a few days before the birth to allow the zookeepers to keep a close on maternity events in the Elephant House. But now that mother and child are in good health and getting along well, it is no longer necessary to have staff stationed on site anymore.

In the coming days, the little elephant will continue to explore the Elephant House. On his forays, he will discover a variety of flooring substrates such as sand, asphalt and rubber, and come into contact with water. Otto has even taken a short bath in the small drinking pool. The next step is meeting his aunts Mangala and Panang face-to-face for the first time, which will probably take place sometime next week. "The mood within the elephant group is very positive and relaxed - Otto will certainly be welcomed into the herd," adds Schwellenbach.

The birth of the baby elephant at Hellabrunn Zoo has also been welcomed by a famous German celebrity - namesake and comedian Otto Waalkes congratulated the zoo with a drawing. Zoo director Rasem Baban: "We are of course delighted and very honoured." The name Otto is based on the last wish of a friend of the zoo, who left a generous legacy gift.

Photographs: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Marc Müller

Videos: Tierpark Hellabrunn/Andreas Kastiunig

Due to the current government restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Hellabrunn Zoo is temporarily closed until 30.11.2020. We are therefore currently unable to hold any press events at the zoo.


Little Elephant Born at Amersfoort Animal Park

At Amersfoort Animal Park this morning, elephant Kina gave birth to a small calf. “The elephant was born around 10:00 am. Special, because elephants are usually born at night,” says zookeeper Rob Saris. Mother Kina and her calf are doing well.

"The calf has already been nursing and Kina is keeping a close eye on her young," says the zookeeper. "It is Kina's second baby, so she now knows very well what motherhood means." It is still unclear whether the calf is a female or a male: “We can only see the sex when the calf has urinated for the first time,” Rob explains.

Olifantje geboren in DierenPark Amersfoort
Olifantje geboren in DierenPark Amersfoort
Olifantje geboren in DierenPark Amersfoort
Olifantje geboren in DierenPark Amersfoort

Amersfoort Zoo is currently temporarily closed due to the current Covid-19 measures and the newborn calf cannot be admired in the park yet. “Everyone can watch the calf's first steps via the live webcams”, says Rob. When the park opens its doors again, the elephant will occasionally be seen in a safe 1.5 meter opening. Visitors will enter the courtyard in small groups and accompanied by a guide. In addition, if the weather permits, the baby will explore the outdoor enclosure together with the herd every day. “As a visitor you will therefore have to be lucky to be able to spot the little one,” explains the animal caretaker.

Joy and sorrow are close together in the park these days. The escape and loss of two chimpanzees had a major impact on the animal handlers and other employees. “The grief is great, but this elephant birth is a ray of hope for all involved in this difficult time,” says Rob.


Interesting Elephant Behavior

Listen close! There is some interesting elephant behavior in this quick clip. Mother elephant Semba walks by, but her young calf Penzi doesn't follow. Turn your sound on to hear Semba emit a low rumbling sound from off-camera, which makes Penzi rush over to mom!

Elephants can make a variety of sounds to communicate different things, and these deep rumbles are one of the most fascinating ways elephants communicate. The rumbles can be so deep in tone that elephants can even "hear" them as vibrations through the ground!

 

 


Handsome Elephant Born at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Baby 1-24-19 by Maria Simmons

A healthy Asian Elephant was born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, New York, on January 15.

The male calf arrived at 5:30am and is the second calf born to female, Mali, and bull elephant, Doc (both age 21). At birth, the baby weighed 268 pounds and measured about 3 feet tall.

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is among 30 accredited zoos that participate in the Species Survival Plan for Asian Elephants overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

Mom and Baby by Ashley Sheppard

Laying down in hose day 5Photo Credits: Rosamond Gifford Zoo

“Asian Elephants are critically endangered in the wild, so it’s a huge accomplishment to be able to breed them in human care,” Onondaga County Executive, Ryan McMahon, said. “I congratulate the zoo and its dedicated animal care staff, as well as the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine team that assisted them in preparing for this birth.”

“An elephant’s gestation period ranges from 20 to 24 months. Mali’s pregnancy lasted an estimated 660 days,” said Zoo Director Ted Fox. “After determining the pregnancy was progressing well over a year ago, the elephant care and veterinary team began preparing for a Christmas 2018 due date,” Fox said.

In recent months, the team conducted birthing drills in the elephant husbandry barn, using a life-size inflatable elephant to represent Mali and a giant boat buoy to represent the baby.

Mali started showing signs of active labor at 5:30 a.m. January 15, and the baby was born less than a half hour later. Mother and baby are reportedly both doing fine, and staff will monitor them closely while giving Mali and her newborn time to bond.

The zoo will be posting photo and video updates on its social media platforms so the public can see the baby’s progress leading up to a springtime introduction to the public.

The zoo is in the midst of a construction project to expand its Asian Elephant Preserve from 4.5 acres to 6 acres and improve viewing access to elephants and other species on the Wildlife Trail. The construction is expected to be completed by Memorial Day weekend.

Asian Elephants are the species the Syracuse Zoo is most famous for helping to save as part of its AZA wildlife conservation mission. Of several thousand zoos and aquariums in North America, only 232 have passed the rigorous inspections required for AZA accreditation. Of those, 30 have Asian Elephants and only 11 have breeding programs for this endangered species.

The new addition brings the zoo’s elephant herd to eight animals, including a three-generation family group that includes Mali and Doc’s first calf, Batu, a male who turns 4 in May, and Mali’s mother, Targa, 35. The Preserve also is home to the calves’ three unrelated “aunties” -- matriarch, Siri, who turns 52 this year, as well as Romani, 41, and her daughter Kirina, 23.

Asian Elephants are classified as “Critically Endangered” in their native habitat in Asia and India due to habitat destruction and hunting and poaching by humans. Only about 30,000 are estimated to remain in the wild.

The zoo’s successful participation in the AZA Species Survival Plan, its state-of-the art elephant care facilities – including a 50,000-gallon elephant watering hole with green infrastructure – its experienced elephant care team and its Cornell Veterinary team set it apart as a model for elephant programs around the world.