Asha, who is pregnant for the fourth time, is now about eight months into her 22-month pregnancy. The mother and baby are "as healthy as can be."
The Oklahoma City Zoo recently took to Facebook to share an ultrasound video showing a baby elephant that's due in February 2022. Asha, an endangered Asian elephant, is pregnant for the fourth time, according to Penn Live. The news of Asha's pregnancy was first shared via their social media handle on August 12th, which also happens to be celebrated as World Elephant Day! They shared a cute video with the caption: Baby on the way! In honor of today, August 12, being World Elephant Day, the OKC Zoo is thrilled to announce that Asian elephant, Asha, 25, is pregnant and due to give birth in February 2022! This will be Asha’s fourth calf born at the OKC Zoo. The Zoo’s bull elephant, Rex, 51, is the father. The pair are also parents to Achara, 5, and Kairavi, 1.
At the time of the video, the mother elephant was about 17 weeks into the pregnancy. Now, she is about eight months into her 22-month pregnancy, which is why we have to wait over a year to have a look at her beautiful calf.
Asha is mom to three female elephants including Achara born in 2014 and Kairavi born in 2018, as per KOCO News 5. The most recent video update is an ultrasound of Asha's calf, and the zoo's mentioned that both mother and baby are "as healthy as can be," and that they'll be posting future updates.
In 2011, Asha gave birth to a male calf, which was the first elephant born at the OKC. Unfortunately, Malee, the little one, did not make it and he died when he was just four-years-old due to elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, according to officials. Now, Asha and her unborn baby are being constantly monitored by the officials and they are optimistic that everything will go well for the experienced mom. “As Asha’s pregnancy progresses,” officials said, “her daily routine including diet, exercise, and training will stay consistent, and she will continue living with her family group."
"She is receiving care and attention from her caretakers who are working closely with the zoo’s veterinary team to monitor both mom and calf through ongoing exams and ultrasounds. Zoo officials said Asha voluntarily participates in these exams through positive reinforcement training making it a comfortable experience for her."
As for Asha's pregnancy, officials said that “Elephants have the longest pregnancy in the animal kingdom, lasting 22 months from conception to birth. Newborn elephants can weigh 200-300 pounds at birth.” Currently, the Oklahoma City Zoo is home to seven animals: Asha, 25; Chandra, 24; Bamboo, 53; Kandula, 18; Rex, 51; Achara, 5; and Kairavi, 1 – and, the new baby arriving in 2022.
As Asian elephants are endangered, “The OKC Zoo is committed to the conservation of Asian elephants and their habitat through its global partnerships. Asian elephants are endangered, facing unique challenges that threaten the species’ survival. Asian elephant populations in the wild have fallen below 40,000. The 13 nations that make up the natural habitat of Asian elephants contain the densest human population on the planet and, as a result, the vital habitat for elephants has been reduced by 85% in 40 years. Furthermore, Asian elephants are much more susceptible than African elephants to EEHV, a fast-moving virus with a 60% fatality rate,” The OKC Zoo announcement stated.