A birth announcement is always reason to celebrate, and the Houston Zoo has announced a rather hefty birth. Tupelo, a 10-year-old Asian elephant, gave birth to a female calf on Wednesday, March 10 shortly after 11 am. The bouncing bundle of joy weighs in at a whopping 284 pounds, the Houston Zoo reports.
The newborn has yet to be named; the zoo promises that detail will be announced soon on its social media channels.
Tupelo gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff, per a press release. Mother and baby will be closely monitored, examined, and will spend several days bonding before they are ready to join the rest of the herd.
During the bonding period, the elephant team is watching for the pair to share several key moments like nursing and hitting weight goals, per a press release.
This is Tupelo’s first calf; she was artificially inseminated as she is related to all male elephants at the zoo. This new calf raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 12 (five males and seven females).
The zoo also welcomed baby elephant Nelson in May 2020.
Visitors to the zoo are supporting its efforts to support elephants in Asia, including support, equipment, and training for local researchers to place satellite collars on wild elephants.
“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo, in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to watch Tupelo and her baby bond and introducing her to Houston.”