Rosamond Gifford Zoo Asian Elephant Expecting This Fall
County Executive Ryan McMahon joined staff at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to announce the zoo’s Asian elephant Mali is expecting a calf this fall. Mali was born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo to Targa in 1997.
“This is another exciting milestone for our zoo’s Asian elephant program and its commitment to elephants in zoos and in the wild as an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The new Animal Health Center, coupled with the dedication of Rosamond Gifford Zoo animal staff, is essential for the conservation of this magnificent and endangered species,” said McMahon.
Ultra-sound and blood hormone analysis confirmed that Mali is expecting between late September and mid-November.
The average gestation period for elephants is 20-24 months. Elephant calves typically weigh between 170-300 pounds at birth.
Zoo staff is working with experienced veterinarians from Cornell University (who have a long-standing history with the zoo’s elephant herd); in addition, the zoo’s dedicated elephant staff has a combined experience of 80-plus years.
“We are greatly excited,” said Ted Fox, zoo director. “And while Mali is an experienced mother, the focus is on giving her the best prenatal care possible. This includes careful monitoring, nutrition, exercise and regular check-ups.
This will be Mali’s fourth calf and bull elephant Doc’s third. Mali delivered her first calf, Chuck, in 2008 while on loan to African Lion Safari (ALS) in Ontario, Canada. Mali and Doc have parented Ajay, born January 15, 2019 and his older brother, Batu, born in May of 2015. Both succumbed to EEHV, a lethal train of herpes that targets young Asian elephants.
The Rosamond Gifford Zoo has been a leader in Asian elephant husbandry and care since 1986 and is committed to the long-term care of these magnificent creatures. With the support of the community, the zoo maintains a new state-of-the-art Animal Health Center that enables the zoo to provide the very best of care as well as conduct key research that will someday help eradicate EEHV.
The new calf will be a welcomed addition to the zoo’s herd of six Asian elephants at Asian Elephant Preserve, a seven-acre naturalized elephant habitat that includes outdoor exercise enclosures, misters, sand wallows, oversized shade structures, giant scratching post and 50,000-gallon pool. Just off the Wildlife Trail is Elephant Overlook, where visitors and families can pause and spend time watching elephants in the yard or catch one of the zoo’s engaging summertime elephant demonstrations – including elephant yoga. The Preserve houses Pachyderm Pavilion, a 10,000+ square foot barn with viewing windows allowing visitors to observe the elephants’ daily activities and care. The Pavilion incorporates world-class technology allowing for safe housing and handling of elephants and includes a private maternity ward.