MEET JOY: Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo

HOUSTON – The Houston Zoo on Wednesday welcomed a female baby elephant in the Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn.

After a two year pregnancy for 26-year-old elephant Shanti, she gave birth to a 305-pound female calf at 8:27 p.m. Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the Houston Zoo said Shanti had a short labor, and Joy began to nurse within three hours. 

Shanti's keepers and veterinary staff said the two will undergo post-natal exams and will bond for several days behind the scenes before the public meets baby Joy.

PHOTOS: Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo released the following statement:

“Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly,” said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. “We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond-and introducing her to Houston.”

"This is an exhilarating summer for the elephant team. In May, the zoo opened an expanded elephant habitat, which doubled the entire elephant complex and immerses guests into the lives and culture of Asian elephants. The new bull barn and expanded yard gives more room for this growing herd."