The Toledo Zoo has a new member of their elephant family. On Friday night, 32-year-old Renee, one of the zoo's African female elephants gave birth to a male calf. The calf, who has not yet been given a name, weighed approximately 200 pounds at birth and within minutes of being born was standing up and trying to get milk from his mother. Zoo officials say the unassisted birth came after a 22 month gestation period. This is Renee's second calf and she is said to exhibit excellent maternal behavior.
The calf was conceived in August 2009 through an artificial insemination procedure performed by Elephant Reproductive Specialist Dr. Dennis Schmitt and the Toledo Zoo animal care team. Mother and calf will be monitored around the clock to ensure that the calf begins nursing and that Renee continues to show good motherly behavior. Renee and the newborn calf are currently off exhibit and will remain so until zoo staff determine that all necessary criteria for public viewing have been met.