HOUSTON – The Houston Zoo has a new baby elephant, and her name is Tilly.
The zoo’s 35-year-old Asian elephant, Tess, gave birth to a 345-pound baby girl calf early Sunday morning.
Tess gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow barn around 2:30 a.m. under the supervision of her keepers and veterinary staff. The zoo said Tilly began to nurse within hours of birth.
The zoo named the calf.
“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 Tilly and Tess bond, and introducing her to Houston.”
Tess and the calf will undergo post-natal exams and spend several days bonding behind the scenes, before they are ready for their public debut.
During the bonding period, the zoo said it is watching for the pair to share several key moments like communicating with mom and hitting weight goals.
The zoo said Tilly will wear a harness for a few days so the elephant team cam help her stand while she’s nursing.
This is the third calf for Tess, who is also mother to Tucker, 13, and Tupelo, 7, and raises the number of elephants in the Houston Zoo herd to 10 -- four males and six females.
The sweetest little Father’s Day present is here! This morning at 2:38 a.m., 35-year-old Asian elephant, Tess, gave birth to a 345-pound female without complication, and the calf began learning how to nurse within the first few hours. More about Tilly: https://t.co/kd50xfDTZG pic.twitter.com/uDHEGWBv26— Houston Zoo (@houstonzoo) June 17, 2018