Elephant Gives Birth At Houston Zoo After 2-Year Pregnancy (VIDEO)

HOUSTON, TX — Joy to the world. And to Houston as well. The most recent newborn at the Houston Zoo has become the pride and joy of the zoo as well as the entire city. Joy, a 305-pound infant elephant, entered this world late last week after a two-year pregnancy by her mother, Shanti, an Asian Elephant who resides at the zoo.

Shanti went into labor Thursday evening and, after three hours, Joy was born. The birth took place in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. The staff who cared for the calf named her Joy. The mother and daughter will not be available for public viewing for several days as the zoo staff want them to bond behind the scenes.

“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.”

Zoo staff members have monitored Joy’s early days by holding her upright in a harness as she learns to stand weight on her legs and stabilize while nursing. She’s been wobbly and often wants to sleep, like most baby elephants.

The zoo last May opened an expanded elephant habitat which doubled the entire elephant complex and immerses guests into the lives and culture of Asian elephants. The new bull barn and expanded yard gives more room for this growing herd.

The zoo is also playing a role in helping save baby elephants and their mothers in the wild. Portions of every zoo admission and membership help 200-250 wild elephants in Asia. The Houston Zoo began its work in Borneo in 2007 and has seen a doubling in elephant population since then.

Photos by Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

Photo by Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

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