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Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: June 18, 2021 1:30 pm

Elephant Calf Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

An Asian elephant calf born on June 16th 2021 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

On Wednesday June 16th 2021 the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium celebrated as Phoebe, the 33 year old elephant gave birth to her widely anticipated calf. The male calf was born in the barn at the Zoo’s Asia Quest region.

Phoebe is an experienced mother having raised another calf Beco who was born in 2009. She has been providing exceptional care to her latest calf. Soon after birth he was observed to nurse.

Elephant Calf Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

An Asian elephant calf born on June 16th 2021 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium bonds with mother Phoebe in the zoo’s elephant barn

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The calf has been spending much of his time in the safety of mom’s legs but has begun to show curiosity towards his surroundings. He is also quite vocal and often emits a low grumble and test out his trunk.

Columbus Zoo’s Animal Care team has been monitoring Phoebe who will voluntarily participate in an ultrasound. This monitoring was aided by the purchase of endocrine equipment in 2018 by donor, Johanna Destefano. As a result of this they were able to determine the birth would occur within 72 hours on June 13th 2021.

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The father of the calf is 33 year old Hank who was paired with Phoebe on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. 

Despite giving the pair opportunities to breed naturally these were unsuccessful and the birth was the result of artificial insemination. While this process is becoming more common until now it has only been performed successfully on 10 occasions.

Elephant Calf Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Elephant Calf Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

An Asian elephant calf born on June 16th 2021 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium bonds with mother Phoebe in the zoo’s elephant barn

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Phoebe and her new calf are part of a 7 strong herd at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. They live alongside males Hank and Beco (Phoebe’s son) and females Connie, Sunny and Rudy. This is the fourth calf for Phoebe during her time at Columbus and her firth in her lifetime.

As Phoebe and her calf are currently bonding they will remain behind the scenes in the elephant barn at the zoo. Once they are ready they will slowly be introduced to other members of the herd.

Columbus Zoo support a range of conservation efforts for the Asian elephant both in the wild and in captivity.

Elephant Calf Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

An Asian elephant calf born on June 16th 2021 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo Credit: Grahm S. Jones/ Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Learn more about Asian Elephants here – Asian Elephant Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Columbus Zoo on their website – Columbus Zoo

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