(Photo by Michael Durham, Oregon Zoo)
Rose-Tu, a 14 yr. old Asian elephant and first-time mother, gave birth to a 286 pound, male calf at the Oregon Zoo at 3:56pm on August 23. The first-time mother seemed confused during the birth and showed aggression to the calf. Veterinarians and keeper staff quickly intervened, but reintroduction efforts are now underway.
"The baby is calling to his mom and she's calling back," said Mike Keele, the zoo's deputy director and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' species survial plan coordinator for Asian elephants. "Our veterinarians have examined the calf to see if he sustained any injuries, however from the behavioral signs we've seen thus far, we're very hopeful".
Keele believes that because Rose-Tu had never seen a birth before, she became confused when the baby was born.
"After several failed but energetic attempts, the calf finally stood up and took is first few steps," said Keele. "He has a good suckle response and took water from a keeper's finger within the first hour after birth," he added.
Rose-Tu is doing well after more than 31 hours of labor, thanks to a daily exercise regime that has kept her in top shape.
Visit the Oregon Zoo website for more information.