Houston Zoo elephant gives birth to baby boy

HOUSTON The 348-pound calf has been named 'Baylor' by the Zoo's elephant care team in recognition of the advances made by Baylor College of Medicine's research team to significantly reduce the threat of a potentially lethal elephant herpes virus.

The mother, Shanti, a 19-year-old Asian elephant, began exhibiting signs of labor around 10:30pm Monday night. Attended by the Houston Zoo's elephant care team and assisted by the Zoo's veterinary staff, Shanti delivered the baby at 9:32am on Tuesday, May 4. Baylor is Shanti's third calf.

"Baylor started nursing at 12:05pm Tuesday," said Large Mammal Curator Daryl Hoffman Hoffman. "This little elephant has a very good appetite. In the first 90 minutes after his first meal, we saw him nurse more than 10 times."

Elephant keepers will now keep Shanti and Baylor under a 24-hour watch for the next few weeks. The barn at the McNair Asian Elephant Habitat is temporarily closed to the public, but will reopen after the elephant care team can see signs that Baylor has his "sea legs" and is comfortable in his new home.

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