The Houston Zoo celebrated Mother’s Day this year with a major announcement sure to delight animal loves of all ages: Tess, one of the zoo’s beloved Asian elephants, is pregnant. Tess is expected to give birth to a new baby elephant later this summer, bringing an adorable new addition to the Houston Zoo.
The Houston Zoo is currently home to nine Asian elephants. Tess, 35, already has two children at the zoo: Tucker, 13, and Tupelo, 7. The zoo staff have known about Tess’s upcoming addition for some time, as elephants gestate their young for over two years. All of Tess’s prenatal health indicators suggest she is perfectly healthy, and ultrasounds and blood tests all point to a perfectly healthy baby elephant. The new baby is sure to be a huge hit with zoo goers, as the elephants are already one of the Houston Zoo’s main attractions. There’s even a 24/7 live “Elephant Yard Cam” so fans of the elephants can get their fix even when not at the zoo.
Tess is slated to give birth in the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat right here in the Houston Zoo. There is a 7,000-square-foot barn in the habitat which veterinary staff and zookeepers use for delicate procedures or when the elephants just need a little privacy. Tess is expected to spend several days in isolation bonding with the new baby elephant before making their triumphant debut in front of excited zoo goers.
The expected baby elephant isn’t the first to be born at the Houston Zoo. Last summer, the elephant Shanti gave birth to Joy, weighing 305 pounds. All Asian elephant births are news for celebration; the species has been classified as endangered for over thirty years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the main authority on the conservation status of the world’s many animal species.