Elephant Calf Update: Diarrhea, a Visit to the Vet, and Getting to Know the Herd

Friday, April 10 Update:

Thank you for all the kind words and well wishes you sent along yesterday for the elephant calf! She is bright and energetic today but does continue to experience diarrhea. Our care team briefly pulled the calf away from Semba again on Friday to administer medication and fluids and draw blood for testing. The elephant care team is monitoring her closely, and we will continue to provide updates as we learn more.

Original Post:

The Zoo’s 3-day old elephant calf has had an eventful first few days of life. 

The female calf is bright, alert, and nursing well. However, as the animal care team has been closely monitoring and getting to know the new calf, they noticed she was experiencing diarrhea and had some redness and swelling around her umbilicus. After consulting with other veterinarians and elephant care professionals, the team made a cautious decision early this afternoon to pull the baby from Semba (her mother) in order to administer medication and fluids and assess the calf’s weight.  

“From a behavioral standpoint, separating such a young calf from mom for any period of time is something we do with great reservation as it breaks down trust between the new calf, mom, and the animal care team,” said Dr. Sue Tygielski, Director of Zoological Operations. “But we believed the medical benefits outweighed the risk.”

We are happy to report that the procedure went smoothly. Mom and baby, who has not yet been named, have been reunited after a very brief separation. The elephant team will continue to monitor the calf and provide medications with the veterinary team as needed.

The calf has also been getting to know the rest of the herd. She met her father, Mabu, earlier this week and just look at the size difference! In the video above you can see the newborn calf with Semba, Mabu, and her big sister Nandi.