After a two-year pregnancy, the wait is over for the Houston Zoo’s Asian Elephant, Shanti. On July 12, the 26-year-old gave birth to a 305-pound female.
The calf has been named Joy by the zoo team that has dedicated their lives to the care, wellbeing, and conservation of these incredible animals.
Baby elephants are quite wobbly when they’re first born, so the harness seen on the images and video of Joy assists the elephant team to help her stand-steady while she’s nursing.
Shanti gave birth in the Houston Zoo’s McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of keepers and veterinary staff. She and her calf underwent post-natal exams and are now spending several days bonding behind the scenes. During this important bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share key moments like communication and hitting weight goals.
“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, Vice President of Animal Operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond, and introducing her to Houston.”