Columbus Zoo welcomes first baby elephant in 10 years

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

The first elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years arrived early this morning.

Mother Phoebe gave birth to a calf at 3:09 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6. The gender has yet to be determined.

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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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To give Phoebe and her new baby privacy to continue forming their strong bond, the pair will remain in a behind-the-scenes area.

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