POWELL, OH (WCMH) — The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced a new baby elephant born early Thursday morning.
According to the zoo, the calf was born to mother Phoebe this morning at about 3am.
“We are very excited about a new edition a very large edition to our family,” said Tom Stalf, President and CEO of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The calf is the first elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years and the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination.
Mother, Phoebe, is a 31-year-old Asian elephant who came to the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with Hank, a 30-year-old male elephant at the Columbus Zoo, 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 through a DNA test with results expected in the coming weeks.
Artificial insemination enables an elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. 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.
The calf, whose sex has not yet been determined, appears strong, according to the zoo.
To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area.
“Mom Phoebe is doing wonderful. The little elephant is doing great,” said Stalf.
There have been three successful Asian elephant births at the Columbus zoo and all three have been born to Phoebe. The most recent male calf Beco born in 2009, and the oldest male, Bodhi was born in 2004.
“She’s such a great mom. Had a great history with her past so we are very proud of our team but very proud of Phoebe because she’s a great mom.”
The Zoo will announce viewing information for guests as it becomes available. 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.