Adorable baby elephant born at Ohio zoo

Adorable baby elephant born at Ohio zoo
The newest baby elephant at the columbus Zoo and Aquarium. (Source: Grahm S. Jones)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium welcomed a new addition to the animal family.

Phoebe, a 31-year-old Asian elephant, delivered the calf at 3:09 a.m. Thursday. The animal care team has not determined the calf’s sex yet.

Both Phoebe and the baby are bonding together and appear to be doing well, says zoo officials.

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BIG delivery! Phoebe gave birth to her calf early this morning at 3:09 a.m. 💗🐘 The newborn’s sex has yet to be determined, as the animal care team is giving time for mom and baby to bond. Both are doing great and the calf appears strong! Our animal care team says Phoebe is an experienced mom. The pairing of Phoebe and a male elephant was based on the recommendation through the Association of @Zoos_Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). 🐘 While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with male, Hank, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was also artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined via a DNA test. After a sample is collected, the results will be available in the upcoming weeks. While still a relatively rare procedure for elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range. 🐘 This monumental birth was greatly anticipated by fans of the @NatGeoWILD’s TV miniseries “Secrets of the Zoo,” which features the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and @VisitTheWilds. 🐘 This calf’s birth is important to sustaining the genetic diversity of Asian elephants in human care. This elephant species is listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List for Threatened Species™ and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is proud to continually several direct elephant conservation initiatives through numerous research projects and grants over the last 23 years. 🐘 Additionally, in conjunction with a donor, the public will have an opportunity to help name the calf. Details will be announced at a later date. 🐘 Currently, the calf and mom are in a behind-the-scenes area and are not visible by Zoo guests. We will provide more updates as they become available, so stay tuned!

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The calf is the result of artificial insemination, a rare procedure for elephants, with sperm from one of two elephants recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“We are very proud to welcome Phoebe’s calf into the elephant herd here at the Columbus Zoo,” said Columbus Zoo President and CEO Tom Stalf. “Each birth contributes to the global population and sustainability of this endangered species and is one worth celebrating as a sign of hope for the future of these incredible animals.”

The gestional period for an Asian elephant typically lasts 22 months, the longest gestiation period of all mamals.

The public will have the opportunity to help name the newborn elephant, who now joins a herd of six Asian elephants in the zoo’s Asia Quest region.

Details on when the calf will be visible to zoo guests have not yet been released.

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