It's a Girl! Houston Zoo Welcomes Adorable Baby Asian Elephant: 'We Couldn't Be Happier'
It's a girl! A baby Asian elephant was born Wednesday morning at the Houston Zoo.
Just after 11 a.m., 10-year-old Tupelo gave birth to the elephant calf, who has not yet been named.
"Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly," Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo, said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to watch Tupelo and her baby bond and introducing her to Houston."
The calf — which was conceived through artificial insemination — is Tupelo's first baby, the zoo said. At birth, she weighed 284 pounds.
"Everyone is doing great!" Daryl Hoffman, a large mammal curator for the zoo, told KHOU 11. "We couldn't be happier."
Mom and baby will be separated for the time being while zoo staff keeps an eye on them to make sure they are bonding and the calf is meeting health goals, according to the zoo.
"During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like communicating with mom and hitting weight goals," the zoo said in a statement.
There are now 12 elephants in the Houston Zoo herd, with five males and seven females.
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In addition to raising Asian elephants at their facility, the Houston Zoo also funds research and protects Asian elephants internationally.
The Zoo's Malaysian conservation team is currently protecting three groups of wild elephants with babies in Borneo.
The team is working to collect data from these elephants that will help them develop future protection plans nationally, the zoo said.