An easy 11-hour labor

New baby elephant "Baylor" is on his feet at the Houston Zoo

New baby elephant "Baylor" is on his feet at the Houston Zoo

A little over two days after being born at the Houston Zoo, a new baby elephant named Baylor was able to stand up on its own today and tentatively walk. The 348-pound male calf was born Tuesday morning at the zoo's McNair Asian Elephant Habitat. Zoo officials had delayed releasing news of the birth to make sure that the elephant was healthy.

"He's doing well and is with his mother," Zoo President and CEO Deborah Cannon told CultureMap. "He's a little unsure, which is normal. But he is getting up on his own and laying down. He's got a lot to get control of after 48 hours."

Baylor's mother, Shanti, a 19-year-old Asian elephant, is also doing fine after a pregnancy of almost 23 months. Zoo officials said the delivery was "quick and easy." The elephant was in labor for abour 11 hours before delivering the calf at 9:32 a.m. Tuesday morning. The baby started nursing around three hours later.

The Zoo named the calf  in recognition of  Baylor College of Medicine’s research team, which has worked to significantly reduce the threat of a potentially lethal elephant herpes virus. Animal rights groups have criticized the Houston Zoo's breeding efforts because all 14 elephants bred in captivity in the last 25 years have died at birth or soon afterwards. 

If all goes well, they plan to reopen the elephant house next week, so the public can view Shanti and Baylor. "We want them to have some time together before we exhibit him," Cannon said.

Check out the first video of Baylor below. And let us know if you'll be going out to see the zoo's newest star or not.

 

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Baylor, a 348-pound male calf born Tuesday morning at the Houston Zoo, stays close to his mother, Shanti, while a zoo care team member keeps watch. Courtesy of Houston Zoo Television