The Houston Zoo is preparing for a big delivery next year. Shanti, a 23-year-old Asian elephant is set to give birth in January 2014.
Back in May 2010, Shanti welcomed Baylor, a male calf who weighed 348 pounds at birth.
The Houston Zoo’s elephant care staff along with veterinarians have been monitoring the progress of Shanti’s pregnancy with regular ultrasounds since the spring of 2012.
“The average gestation period for an Asian elephant is 22 months,” said Houston Zoo Director Rick Barongi. “Our nine member elephant care staff along with our four Zoo veterinarians as well as research partners at Baylor College of Medicine have been monitoring Shanti throughout her pregnancy. We’re looking forward to a successful birth and the new addition to our multigenerational herd.”
The Zoo says in mid-November, a team will observe Shanti via closed circuit TV cameras in the barn at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat, monitoring and recording her behavior and watching for signs of labor. Then in late November, the night watch pregnancy monitoring will begin and will continue until the calf’s birth.
The Houston Zoo is home to seven Asian elephants, including three males and four females.