Friday baby elephant blogging

Friday baby elephant blogging

by digby


The Houston Zoo welcomed a new baby boy elephant into the fold early Friday morning, according to zoo director Rick Barongi.

The 385-pound Asian elephant newborn, named Duncan, was born at just after 2 a.m. and is currently resting with his mother Shanti, who carried Duncan for nearly 23 months.

Shanti's labor process was very quick, Barongi said.

"Duncan was out of womb in three minutes from the contraction," he said. The whole nine-member elephant staff was on hand to help Shanti. Zoo staff had been on birth watch since before Thanksgiving with Shanti.

Duncan was born in one of the "bedrooms" inside the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat. He was examined by zoo staff just after his birth and looks fine. The keepers came up with the name Duncan for the newborn, says Barongi.

"Right now he's very mellow and he's been nursing a lot. When he was first born he was vocalizing a lot and very active," Barongi said.

He's still working on walking, no small feat for someone that weighs nearly 400 pounds and is less than a day old.

"We couldn't be more pleased with him," he says. "They are just so special to us."

Shanti is an experienced mother, so this is nothing new for her. This is her fourth child, and she gives birth about every four years.

"She's just a great, perfect mom. Very attentive," said Barongi.

He anticipates that Duncan will be in the barn for a few days before he can be seen by the public.

Next month, he could be on exhibit for all to see.