baby elephant walk

Houston Zoo announces new baby elephant on the way this summer

Houston Zoo announces new baby elephant on the way this summer

Houston Zoo elephants Tupelo Tess
Tess (right) and Tupelo will soon welcome a new addition to the herd.  Photo by Stephanie Adams

In news that couldn’t have been better timed for Mother’s Day weekend, the Houston Zoo has announced that Tess, the zoo’s 35-year-old Asian elephant, is pregnant and will give birth this summer.

Zoo fans know Tess as one of the zoo’s nine Asian elephants, and mother to Tucker (13) and Tupelo (7). According to zoo staff, the mother elephant’s pregnancy is advancing normally and on schedule, after a two-year gestation. Tess has received nearly two years of pre-natal care by the zoo’s elephant team and four veterinarians with regular ultrasounds and blood work. The zoo team will continue to monitor Tess as she progresses into the labor process, indicated by a hormonal change in her daily blood analysis.

Tess will give birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. After delivery, she and the calf will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes, before their much-anticipated debut.

The soon-to-be-born calf will join a new elephant generation at the zoo. Last July, Joy, born weighing 305-pounds, was born to mother Shanti. Joy now weighs nearly 1,300-pounds, and is approaching her first birthday.