Oregon Zoo elephant is about to become a mother
The Oregon Zoo's 26-year-old Asian elephant Chendra is pregnant.
Zoo staff said Wednesday, July 10, that Chendra could have her calf in late 2020. Staff said they were surprised by the pregnancy. Chendra is nearing the age when female elephants don't conceive, they said.
"We are so excited for Chendra," said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo's elephant area. "Raising a calf is one of the most enriching things an elephant can experience, and we didn't know whether she would ever have that chance. Asian elephants have evolved to live in social groups, and every member of the group has some role in raising young. We're thrilled by the prospect that Chendra and the rest of the herd may get that opportunity in the near future."
Zoo staff said Chendra could have become pregnant in January, but no one is sure which of the two male elephants, Samson or Samudra, is the father. "All we can say for sure is that the dad's name is Sam," Lee said. "Chendra has spent a lot of time with each of them over the past year. We won't know which Sam until the baby's born and we're able to do some genetic tests."
Zoo officials said even though the pregnancy is good news, Chendra could be at risk for tuberculosis after a recent TB test. Three of the zoo's elephants have been successfully treated for the illness in the past few years. Chendra's TB test is being evaluated, said zoo veterinarian Kelly Flaminio.
"This test is not a reliable indicator of active TB, but it can be an early predictor, so we're preparing for that outcome in order to be on the safe side," Flaminio said. "If we need to treat her, it's better to get as quick a jump on it as we can."