The Animal Facts Editorial Team
May 13, 2023 5:50 pm
Reid Park Zoo, Arizona, The United States
Reid Park Zoo have announced that the matriarch of their African elephant herd, Semba is expected to give birth during 2024. This will be the third calf for Semba since her arrival at Reid Park Zoo in 2012. The announcement comes at the midway point of her marathon 2 year long pregnancy.
Semba arrived in Arizona during 2012 from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. At the Reid Park Zoo she has given birth to Nandi, the first elephant born at Reid Park Zoo, in 2014. Her youngest calf, Penzi, recently turned three years old. The father of all of the calves born in the herd so far is Mabu who moved away from the zoo in 2022.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how Penzi responds to her new role as a big sister,” said Cassie Dodds, Elephant Care Supervisor. “Nandi immediately took on a nurturing role when Penzi was born and this new arrival will give Penzi an opportunity to grow her skills caring for a younger calf.”
“Not only will this birth have a big impact on elephant conservation and strengthening the elephant species survival plan for the next generation, but it also strengthens Reid Park Zoo’s family herd structure — every member of the herd will have a role in raising this new baby,” Dodds said.
Animal care staff have been keeping a close eye on Semba’s weight, her vitamin and mineral intake, and checking her blood work regularly throughout the pregnancy. These form part of general monitoring for the entire elephant herd but with Semba have the added benefit of providing vital information on her pregnancy.
“Semba is a great mother, and it has been incredible to watch the bond between sisters Nandi and Penzi,” said Reid Park Zoo President & CEO Nancy Kluge. “We’re excited for the herd to gain a member and for Semba’s daughters to take on new roles as they play and grow with this new addition to the family.”
Elephants have developed a natural skincare routine. To help protect their sensitive skin against the sun they will cover it with dirt which acts in a similar fashion to sunscreen.
Image: © Nashville Zoo
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