TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Officials with Reid Park Zoo confirmed on Tuesday, Feb. 19 that they will be adding another member to the African elephant family in 2020. Semba, the 29-year-old matriarch of the group is pregnant!
According to Reid Park she is about halfway through her 22 to 24 month pregnancy, Semba is due sometime in the spring of 2020. This will be her fourth calf, the second to be born at the zoo. Nandi, who was born in August 2014, was her first at the zoo, and the first African elephant to be born in Arizona.
“The main thing to look out for in elephant pregnancy is excessive weight gain,” said Dr. Alexis Moreno, Reid Park Zoo Veterinarian in a recent news release. “This is similar to concerns for human pregnancy.”
To care for Semba while she’s pregnant, the Animal Care Staff are watching Semba’s weight - a healthy 6,960 pounds, her vitamin and mineral intake, and checking her bloodwork regularly.
The entire herd receives this exact care regularly, but in Semba’s case, it provides the animal care staff with the information they need to monitor Semba as she progresses through her pregnancy.
“Semba is a great mother,” said Reid Park Zoo Director of Zoological Operations Dr. Sue Tygielski, in the same release. “She has looked after her calves closely, and monitors them as they play and grow together.”
The sex of the new calf won’t be known until after it is born, as keepers can’t see as much in an elephant ultrasound, as they can in a human ultrasound.