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Zoo News Blog

Houston Zoo Elephant Herd Growing By One

The Houston Zoo is expecting a HUGE delivery this spring–a baby elephant. Asian elephant Shanti is pregnant, and after a two-year gestation, the 29-year-old elephant will give birth this spring.

Asian elephants Shanti and Joy walking
Shanti and Joy

Shanti is one of the Houston Zoo’s ten Asian elephants, and mother to Baylor (9), Duncan, (6) and Joy (2). The father is 54-year-old Asian elephant Thailand.

Zoo officials are optimistic that this pregnancy is advancing normally and on schedule. Shanti has received nearly two years of pre-natal care by the zoo’s elephant and veterinary teams with regular ultrasounds and blood work.  The zoo team will continue to monitor Shanti as she progresses into the labor process, indicated by a hormonal change in her daily blood analysis.

Shanti will give birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. After delivery, she and the calf will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes. The elephant team looks forward to watching the pair share several key moments that will prepare them for their public debut. Nursing, communicating with mom, and hitting weight goals are important milestones for a growing baby elephant.

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 straight to protecting wild elephants in Asia. The Bornean elephant population has increased since the Houston Zoo started its wildlife saving support in 2007. 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.