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From Our Herd to Yours: Happy Mother’s Day

Houston Zoo Awaits Arrival of Baby Elephant

The Houston Zoo elephant herd has an extra blessing this Mother’s Day as they patiently await a BIG delivery this year. Thirty-three-year-old Asian elephant Shanti is expecting a baby at the end of 2024. The father is 58-year-old Asian elephant Thailand. The average gestation for an elephant is approximately 659 days or 22 months. The calf’s sex will remain a surprise for all as ultrasounds are not able to determine the gender.

Shanti is an experienced mom and very attentive to her calves as she watches over them closely. Guests can see Shanti with her two youngest, Nelson (4) and Joy (6), in the elephant habitat. She’s also mom to Duncan (10) and Baylor (14) who now reside together at an all-bachelor herd at Denver Zoo.

The Zoo’s dedicated animal care team is monitoring Shanti to ensure mom and calf are staying healthy in the remaining months of the pregnancy through weekly blood draws. By tracking Shanti’s hormone levels, the team is optimistic with the progression of the pregnancy. Shanti will give birth in the McNair Asian Elephant habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and the Zoo’s veterinary team. Once the calf is born, Shanti and her newborn will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes before introducing the new addition to the rest of the herd.

By visiting expectant mom, Shanti, at Houston Zoo, guests are helping to save elephant families in the wild. A portion of each zoo admission and membership goes straight to protecting wild elephants in Asia. The Houston Zoo provides funds for elephant conservationist, Nurzhafarina “Farina” Othman and her team in Asia, to put tracking collars on wild elephants. The collars are used to follow wild elephants, collecting valuable movement data that is used to inform future protection for the elephant families as they travel through the forests.