There’s a new joke at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio: Who’s your daddy? It’s a genuine question for the female baby Asian elephant born early Thursday morning as a result of artificial insemination. In March 2017, the calf’s mom, Phoebe, was inseminated with two male elephants’ sperm, which is standard procedure. But the team still hasn’t been able to confirm whether Hank or Samson is the father. These things take time, you see. In fact, a team of vets with the zoo and the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation inseminated Phoebe for the first time back in December 2016. She didn’t get pregnant then, so the team tried again in March. Elephants’ reproductive cycles give them only four chances a year at getting pregnant. Second time turned out to be the charm for Phoebe. Now, she’s got a cute little bebe—her fourth, but first girl! The team went in Thursday morning to give the calf a quick examination, which included listening to its heartbeat and lungs, and drawing some blood samples. The exam took all of two minutes, said Randy Junge, the vice president for animal health at the zoo who was the lead vet on her case. The sex was confirmed Friday, but she’s still yet to be named. New births like this are important for the species, which is endangered in the wild with less than 50,000 Asian elephants remaining, according to the World Wildlife Fund. These captive animals are unlikely to ever make their way… [Read full story]
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