OKC Zoo Announces Elephant Is Expecting

Monday, October 7th 2013, 4:37 pm
By: News 9

A big delivery is expected at the OKC Zoo and Botanical Garden.

The zoo announced its 18-year-old Asian elephant, Asha, is seven months pregnant. Ultra sound and blood hormone analysis confirmed the pregnancy. Average gestation for elephants is 22 months, making her due date sometime in December 2014.

"We are cautiously optimistic because it is early in the pregnancy," said Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino, Director of Veterinary Services. "We will focus on giving Asha the best prenatal care possible, with carefully monitored nutrition, exercise and regular check-ups through ultrasounds and blood work."

Asha's first pregnancy went smoothly and her calf Malee is thriving, weighing more than 2,000 pounds.

4/16/2011 Related Story: Asha The Elephant Gives Birth At OKC Zoo

"She will be three years old when the calf arrives, which is a great age for her to learn mothering skills by watching her own mother give birth and care for the calf," said Nick Newby, Pachyderm Supervisor.

Malee's aunt, Chandra, is also part of the Zoo's multi-generational herd. Rex, the father-to-be arrived December 13, 2011 to join the Zoo's two adult female elephants Asha and Chandra and then 8-month-old female Malee, bringing the zoo's Asian elephant herd to four. Born in India in approximately 1968, estimated to be 43-years-old and weighing in at 8,000 pounds, Rex comes to the Zoo from Canada's African Lion Safari. Rex has previously sired five offspring; three males and two females.

12/14/2011 Related Story: OKC Zoo Expands Its Elephant Herd To Four

Malee's father, Sneezy resides at the Tulsa Zoo. This is the second pregnancy for Asha, who was born at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri on February 2, 1995 and has lived in Oklahoma City since December 1, 1998. Younger sister 17-year-old Chandra, born July 2, 1996 has yet to conceive.

Updates regarding the progress of Asha's pregnancy will be provided periodically on the Zoo's website, twitter @okczoo and on Facebook.