Why this elephant’s pregnancy is a good sign of saving the species
The Indianapolis Zoo anxiously awaits the birth of a new elephant in October because of its implication on saving the species — see the ultrasound of the baby elephant here
Born in August 2006 by artificial insemination, Zahara is the youngest African elephant at the Indianapolis Zoo and one of an estimated 160 in captivity in the United States, weighing in at 6,370 pounds, reported USA Today. And she’s pregnant with a one-of-a-kind calf.
What makes this calf so special is that Zahara, who was born by artificial insemination of her mother Ivory, became pregnant through the same procedure — the first in the world to have both mother and grandmother artificially inseminated, the zoo announced.
It’s a big deal for groups trying to save the endangered African elephant species, as they watched the worldwide population drop from 10 million in 1913 to less than 500,000 in 2015, per USA Today.
The population decline is due to “habitat loss leading to conflict with humans,” as well as current and past “poaching for Ivory and other body parts,” explained Rob Shumaker, the zoo’s CEO and president, in a release.
“We want to inspire every Zoo visitor to actively support a future where these magnificent animals thrive,” Shumaker said.
The zoo anxiously awaits the new addition to the herd, due in early October, as the next step in saving the species.
“We are pleased that Zahara’s pregnancy appears to be progressing normally as the calf continues to grow at a healthy rate with a consistent strong heartbeat on ultrasound,” said Dr. Melissa Fayette, the Indianapolis Zoo associate veterinarian, in a release.
In a video of the ultrasound taken by the zoo’s veterinarian staff, a heartbeat and a small whipping trunk can be seen.