The Dallas Zoo welcomed a new arrival when one of the elephants rescued from Swaziland this spring gave birth to a calf.
The African elephant calf, born at 10:15 p.m. May 14, was the first born in the United States in nearly two years. Zoo elephant keepers had stayed in the barn for several nights to monitor the herd.
“Our entire animal staff, from keepers to veterinarians to the nutrition team, is involved in caring for this remarkable calf,” Dallas Zoo DVM and vice president Lynn Kramer said. “He is doing well; playing hard and nursing often. And Mlilo is proving to be a very attentive and patient mother.”
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The calf, who hasn't yet been named, weighs about 175 pounds and stands about 3 feet tall. His trunk is about 1 foot long.
The calf's mother, Mlilo, is one of five elephants from Swaziland provided sanctuary by the Dallas Zoo. Mlilo arrived showing signs of a possible pregnancy, but tests were inconclusive.
“The small risk of moving a potentially pregnant animal was far outweighed by the certain death she and her calf faced in Swaziland,” Dallas Zoo president and CEO Gregg Hudson said. “This birth validates the critical importance of our rescue efforts and why we worked so hard to get these animals to safety as quickly as possible.”
Zoo officials said it could be several months before the public can see the calf as the process of introducing the Swaziland elephants to the other Dallas Zoo elephants is ongoing.