Houston Zoo welcomes adorable, 305-pound baby elephant

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Not many babies weigh 305 pounds when they're born, but the latest addition to the Houston Zoo is no ordinary baby.

Elephant mom Shanti welcomed baby girl Joy on Wednesday night after what a zoo spokesperson described as a short labor. Joy began to nurse within hours of her birth.

For the next several days, mother and daughter will be kept behind the scenes at the zoo as they bond.

During that time, veterinarians will closely monitor Joy to make sure she hits key development benchmarks like communicating with her mother and hitting weight goals.

"Our animal team is thrilled that the birth has gone smoothly," said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo. "We look forward to continuing to watch Joy and Shanti bond, and introducing her to Houston."

After their bonding period, Joy and Shanti will move back into the zoo's recently expanded elephant habitat, which more than doubled in size during a renovation that wrapped up in May.

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