INDIANAPOLIS — A female African elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo celebrated a big milestone on Labor Day: the birth of her first baby calf.
The Indy Zoo announced Tuesday that first-time elephant mother Zahara brought a new male calf into the world around 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4, although zoo staff began staying overnight on Friday to prepare for the newest member of the African elephant herd.
Photos of the male calf, who has yet to be named, standing with his mother Zahara can be seen below.
According to a news release from the Indianapolis Zoo, the birth was historic.
“The birth made history as the first elephant in the world (African or Asian) to be born through artificial insemination to a mother who was also born through the same procedure,” the release read.
According to the zoo’s assistant elephant curator Niki Kowalski, the calf was born just 20 minutes after Zahara showed initial signs of labor.
“Zahara’s mother Ivory is known for her short labor times, and this baby came quickly as well,” she said. “Mom and baby are doing great and have bonded quickly. What a great way to celebrate Labor Day.”
The zoo said that at birth, the young calf weighed a healthy 262 pounds. The calf, zoo officials said, is also “strong” and was standing within 10 minutes of birth.
Prior to the birth, the calf’s mother Zahara was the Zoo’s youngest elephant at 17 years old. The calf, Zoo President and CEO Robert Shumaker said, is the seventh to be born at the zoo.
“We are especially excited as this calf will begin a third generation in the herd at the Zoo,” Shumaker said.
According to the Zoo, multi-generational herds such as this are the most “natural” and “healthy” social setting for elephants.
No other information regarding the calf, such as a name, was provided by the Indy Zoo.