Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: May 15, 2020 8:34 pm
Photo Credit: Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo has welcomed a new elephant calf but his life got off to a tough start with the calf fighting for life within minutes of birth.
The birth took place at 6.30am on May 12th, but dedicated staff who were present for the birth noticed that the calf was hemorrhaging from the umbilical cord. As soon as this was noticed keepers worked to sedate the calf and get him in to emergency surgery. During a 30 minute procedure zoo vets were able to find the vessel, fix the hole and stop
While the surgery was a success keepers were prepared for the worst. As vets worked on the calf keepers were working with the adult elephants to draw blood which could be used for a transfusion if needed. Three bags of blood were collected but as these were not needed they will be stored for the herds’ future medical needs.
Vice president of animal operations Lisa Marie Avendano commented on the team’s dedication “We are extremely proud of our dedicated, skilled and experienced elephant and veterinary teams who were thoroughly organized and ready to respond to whatever our new calf needed.”
Mum, Shanti was reunited with the 148kg (326lbs) calf soon after the procedure. Since their reintroduction the pair has enjoyed time alone to bond in the elephant barn away from the rest of the herd. Since returning to mum the calf has stood and walked and begun to nurse.
Keepers continue to watch the calf to ensure that he does not face any further complications but they are cautiously optimistic he has made a full recovery. They have chosen the name Nelson for the calf.
Once keepers are satisfied that he and mum are both healthy, he will be able to meet the rest of the herd including Shanti’s other children, Baylor, Duncan and Joy along with the other 6 elephants which form the Houston Zoo herd.
The Asian elephant has been assessed by the IUCN as endangered. The Houston Zoo support work to protect wild elephants in Borneo. Their support has already led to an increase in wild elephant populations.
Learn more about elephants here – Elephants | The Animal Facts
Learn more about the Houston Zoo here – Houston Zoo
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