A new baby elephant was born this past Sunday at the Houston Zoo. He was born in the herd just two months after baby elephant Winnie was born! The team that has devoted their lives to the care, well-being, and conservation of these amazing animals has called the calf Teddy.
Tess, mother of this baby is 37 year old Asian elephant. She gave birth to a 391-pound male on Sunday at 8:04 p.m. This calf brings the Houston Zoo herd to 13 elephants–six males and seven females. Tess is also the mother of Tucker (15), Tupelo (10) and Tilly (2), as well as the grandmother of Winnie, who was born on March 10
The Houston Zoo’s vice president of animal operations, Lisa Marie Avendano said:
Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly. We look forward to continuing to watch Teddy and Tess bond, and introducing him to Houston.”
Tess gave birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat cow stable, surrounded by her keepers and veterinary staff. Tess and Teddy will go through post-natal evaluations and spend several days bonding before they make public appearance. The team is watching for the pair to share some crucial moments during the bonding process, such as engaging with mom and gaining some weight.
Over the next few years, the Houston Zoo’s animal care staff will monitor Teddy, for Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus (EEHV) symptoms. EEHV is the most infectious disease in elephants around the world. It affects wild elephants and as well as elephants under human care in sanctuaries and zoos.
The Houston Zoo is assisting in the discovery of therapies and the creation of virus control strategies. In 2009, the Zoo’s elephant care team and veterinarians collaborated with herpes virologist Dr. Paul Ling at Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Virology and Microbiology, which resulted in major advances in the study of Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus and the development of a vaccine.
Visitors to the Houston Zoo will help save elephants like Teddy and their families in the wild simply by visiting the zoo. A part of each Zoo entry and membership fee is donated to the conservation of wild elephants in Asia. The Zoo provides training, assistance, and equipment to local researchers to track and monitor wild elephants by putting satellite collars on them. The Malaysian conservation team of the Zoo is now monitoring and defending three groups of Asian elephants and their babies in Borneo. The information gathered from these groups will be used to advise future national elephant conservation plans.
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