An Asian elephant was born early Thursday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the zoo has announced.
The calf, which arrived at 3:09 a.m. in the Asia Quest region, is the first elephant born at the zoo in almost 10 years.
This is mother Phoebe’s third calf. Phoebe, who is 31 years old, has already produced two boys: Bodhi in 2004 and Beco in 2009. Bodhi now lives at the Denver Zoo.
Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Bodhi and Beco.
The new baby is also the first elephant conceived at the Columbus Zoo through artificial insemination.
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Both mother Phoebe and potential father Hank live at the zoo, but attempts at natural breedings involving the pair have not been successful. So the zoo artificially inseminated Phoebe with sperm from 30-year-old Hank mixed with sperm from a male elephant at another zoo.
The father of the calf won’t be determined until DNA test results are available in a couple of weeks, the zoo said.
The calf joins the herd of six Asian elephants in the Asia Quest region: males Hank and Beco, and females Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy.
To provide Phoebe and her new baby with time to continue developing a strong bond, they will remain in a behind-the-scenes area at the zoo for the time being, the zoo said Thursday.