The Oregon Zoo announced early Friday that a popular Asian elephant named Rose-Tu has delivered a bouncing baby girl. And this girl came into the world weighing–prospective mothers may cringe when they see the figure–a hefty 300 pounds!
Kim Smith, zoo director, said in a news release: “The calf is beautiful, healthy, tall and very vigorous. As soon as she hit the ground–before she was even out of the amniotic sac–she was wiggling. And she’s vocalizing loudly. … She’s definitely got a great set of pipes.”
The long-anticipated birth occurred at 2:17 a.m., after 21 months of pregnancy and more than 30 hours of labor. And the calf has already been nursing, which is a relief to zookeepers because Rose-Tu’s previous baby was shunned early on by his mother. (Click here to see video footage of Rose-Tu’s ultrasound examination.)
Smith explained in a statement: “Rose is doing considerably better this time around. When Samudra was born, it was four days before she would even let him come near her, so we’re much farther along this time.”
For now, the pair is being kept in a private enclosure.
“The main thing determining that will be the strength of the bond between Rose-Tu and the calf,” said Bob Lee, elephant curator. “Rose should allow the calf to nurse regularly, sleep, play, and generally act like a calf without trying to stop it and control its movements. Then we’ll determine whether she’s calm and comfortable with staff around. And finally, we want to make sure the calf has a chance to bond with the rest of the herd.”
As is the custom at many zoos following high-profile animal births, fans will play a role in determining the young elephant’s name.