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Indianapolis Zoo Public Relations

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Zoo recently announced that Zahara, one of its African elephants, is pregnant via artificial insemination. Zahara is 16 years old and already 15 months into her 22-month pregnancy. The calf is expected to arrive in early October. This birth will be significant because it marks the first time in the world that an elephant calf has been born through artificial insemination to a mother who was also born through the same procedure.

The Indianapolis Zoo has a history of successful elephant reproduction. In 2000, it played a key role in the conception and birth of the first and second African elephants in the world through artificial insemination. Multi-generational elephant herds are important for educating zoo visitors about elephant behavior and their survival in the wild.

According to Dr. Rob Shumaker, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, African elephants face various threats, including habitat loss, human-elephant conflict, and poaching. These pressures endanger the long-term survival of elephants in the wild. Dr. Shumaker hopes that every zoo visitor will be inspired to support a future where these magnificent animals thrive.

Zahara’s calf will complete a third generation in the zoo’s elephant herd. Zahara’s mother, Ivory, is 41 years old, and Zahara is the youngest elephant in the herd of five. Zahara’s animal care team, including keepers and veterinary staff, are monitoring her weight, diet, exercise, and blood values. The zoo’s veterinary team is conducting regular ultrasound examinations to ensure the health and development of the fetus. Dr. Melissa Fayette, Indianapolis Zoo Associate Veterinarian, expressed satisfaction that Zahara’s pregnancy is progressing normally, with the calf growing at a healthy rate and a strong heartbeat on ultrasound.