Elephant Calf Makes His Debut at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The public now can visit the Asian elephant calf and his mother, Phoebe, at the Powell zoo.

David Rees
The two-week-old Asian elephant calf in his enclosure

Born on June 16 to 33-year-old mother Phoebe, an Asian elephant calf made his public debut yesterday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Visitors can now view Phoebe and her calf in the Asia Quest area’s elephant/rhino building daily from 10 a.m. to noon. Viewing schedules for Phoebe and her calf are subject to change as the Zoo takes cues from the new mother and newborn. Zoo officials recommend arriving early and preparing for long lines into the building.

The two-week-old Asian elephant calf in his enclosure

The past couple of weeks, the two elephants have remained behind the scenes as they continued to bond and the yet-unnamed calf explored his habitat. Weighing in at 261 pounds, the calf is vocal; he continues to test out his trunk with low grumbles. 

According a zoo press release, Phoebe was paired with 33-year-old Hank for artificial insemination by recommendation of the Species Survival Plan, an Association of Zoos and Aquariums program that aims to maintain genetic diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care. Artificial insemination is very uncommon with Asian elephants—Phoebe and Hank have tried to breed in the past without success—so the procedure was carefully coordinated to impregnate Phoebe when she was most fertile. 

The two-week-old Asian elephant calf in his enclosure with mom, Phoebe

Artificial insemination is becoming more frequent to combat declining elephant populations, according to the press release. Asian elephants are endangered in their native areas, with fewer than 40,000 existing today; the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to seven of them.  

Additional updates and viewing hours will be provided on the zoo's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.