The Louisville Zoo has an (adorable) new addition!
On Friday night, a 33-year-old female African elephant named Mikki gave birth to a male calf, according to a press release from the zoo.
“Mikki did all the work. Her labor progressed nicely and without complications,” senior veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi said. “Mikki gave birth to a strong and vigorous bull calf.”
According to the release, the still-unnamed baby elephant is 98 cm tall, or just over 3 feet. In early July, the zoo tweeted that the calf already weighed more than 200 lbs.
“It’s an exciting day at the Louisville Zoo,” Louisville Zoo director John Walczak added. “We are so thrilled for Mikki and this calf. We are grateful to our community for embracing Mikki’s pregnancy and being a part of her journey. Raising a calf is one of the most enriching things an elephant can experience. I am very proud of our staff and the amazing job they did to ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy for Mikki and for the calf during birth.”
Both Mikki and her son are doing well after the birth, the zoo said on Twitter. The calf is the second elephant born at the Louisville Zoo in its 50-year history.
The calf has arrived! African elephant Mikki successfully gave birth to a male calf last night August 2 at 11:24 p.m. Mikki and calf are doing fine. Special thanks to the dedicated elephant care team. #Mikkiandcalf #mikkisjourney #mikkimonday https://t.co/9aKeJtwn6D pic.twitter.com/tMvOJkFxKl— Louisville Zoo (@LouisvilleZoo) August 3, 2019
Mikki has entered the birthing window. Staff are on 24-hour watch. We are taking blood samples daily. Yesterday, her progesterone levels were high. Once they drop to baseline, Mikki may go into labor within a few days. Mikki is carrying a calf that is over 200 lbs! pic.twitter.com/Jb9hcTtkAF— Louisville Zoo (@LouisvilleZoo) July 9, 2019
The elephant calf joins Mikki and an Asian elephant named Punch as the third elephant at the zoo.
Mikki gave birth after a nearly 22-month gestation period after she became pregnant through artificial insemination in October 2017, the release said.
“Elephant breeding at accredited zoos provides critical support for elephant conservation,” said Walczak. “Every day, more and more habitats for wild animals are lost due to a growing human population, habitat destruction and poaching. The African elephant population has declined and we want to do our part to help with conservation efforts both locally and worldwide.”
According to the zoo, Mikki and her calf won’t be on view to the public until further notice, to give time for the pair to bond.