There are 40,000 Asian elephants in the world and early yesterday morning at the ABQ BioPark, the endangered species gained one new member.
Sprawled out in the sand, 20 year old Asian elephant Rozie gave birth to her second calf. Her oldest, Daizy, was born at the BioPark 4 years ago.
Elephant Manager for the City Rhonda Saiers said the recent birth was different than the first go round. "When Rozie had her first calf, she had never seen a baby before, never seen her mom have a baby," Saiers said. "So in her first birth, when she had Daizy, we intervened a lot and helped Rozie learn that this is what's happening and this is what you get after this process."
But this time her team of caregivers really wanted Rozie to experience things naturally, akin to being in the wild. Saiers said the process was joyous. "We started seeing the baby coming over the pelvic rim, we knew things were going well," explains Saiers. "And then when Rozie went 'Ah, this is my baby!,', and started sniffing and helping get the calf up, it was just spectacular!"
After an almost silent labor, Rozie got on her feet and trumpted loudly. "She starts talking and gets everyone all worked up," Saiers gleefully described the experience. "Gramma Alice starts trumpeting in the background, and then baby Daizy starts trumpeting, too."
The mission is to raise multi-generational herds at the ABQ BioPark, Saiers said, so the success of the recent birth couldn't be better. For now, they are calling the 200-300 lb. calf Little Miss Independent. The public can make suggestions for her name and in a few days, people will have an opportunity to vote on the best one.