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Indianapolis Zoo welcomes baby African elephant through first-of-its-kind birth

The calf was a healthy birthweight, tipping the scales at 262 pounds.
Credit: Indianapolis Zoo

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo has an adorable new addition. 

Over the Labor Day weekend, new mother Zahara went into labor. She delivered a healthy male calf. 

This was a historic birth, first in the world in fact, as the baby was born through artificial insemination to a mother who was also born through the same procedure. In fact, the first and second African elephants in the world to be conceived and born through artificial insemination were at the zoo in 2000. 

Zahara delivered after just 20 minutes in labor. 

“Zahara’s mother, Ivory, is known for her short labor times, and this baby came quickly as well,” said Niki Kowalski, assistant curator of elephants. "Zahara is a first-time mom, but she's doing an excellent job. She's taking great care of the baby. She's very interested, very attentive to him. He's nursing well. Those are some of the first milestones we look for."

The calf was a healthy birthweight, tipping the scales at 262 pounds. He was standing within 10 minutes, and he and mom are doing well. 

Credit: Indianapolis Zoo

Right now, the zoo is letting mom and son focus on bonding. 

“We are especially excited as this calf will begin a third generation in the herd at the Zoo,” said Robert Shumaker, president and CEO.

Before the birth, Zahara was the zoo's youngest elephant at 17 years old. Her calf is the seventh for the zoo.

As for naming the calf, plans are still in the works.

And while a timeline for letting the public see the new baby is also still up in the air, the zoo is hoping he will be out for limited times during the day when they are open for Zoo Boo Sept. 27 through Oct. 31.

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