Rose-Tu's newborn calf is 'healthy, very vigorous'

Credit: Hova Najarian, Oregon Zoo

Rose-Tu's newborn calf is 'healthy, very vigorous'

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on December 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

PORTLAND - Rose-Tu gave birth at 2:17 a.m. Friday to a girl. The calf weighed 300 pounds.

“The calf is beautiful, healthy, tall and very vigorous," said Oregon Zoo director Kim Smith, "As soon as she hit the ground — before she was even out of the amniotic sac — she was wiggling. And she’s vocalizing loudly."

It's too soon to determine when the calf and Rose-Tu can take visitors.

Watch: Meet Rose-Tu's new baby

“Rose should allow the calf to nurse regularly, sleep, play and generally act like a calf without trying to stop it and control its movements. Then we’ll determine whether she’s calm and comfortable with staff around," said Bob Lee, the zoo’s elephant curator. "And finally, we want to make sure the calf has had a chance to bond with the rest of the herd.”

Photos: Oregon Zoo's newest baby elephant

The zoo will compile a list of names for the newborn calf and the public will have a chance to help choose, Smith said.

Raw Video: Rose-Tu's new baby at Oregon Zoo

“Rose is doing considerably better this time around,” Smith said. “When Samudra was born, it was four days before she would even let him come near her, so we’re much farther along this time. We’re starting to see motherly behavior from Rose, and the calf is already nursing a bit. These are great signs that the mother-calf bond will be a strong one."

Click to see YouTube video of the ultrasound

Wednesday night, Rose-Tu was showing tell-tale signs that the birth was coming. Active labor in Asian elephants usually lasts around 12 to 36 hours. There are many risks associated with elephant births, so zoo staff will continue to monitor Rose-Tu and the baby very closely.

When Rose-Tu gave birth to Samudra in 2008, her labor lasted about 36 hours. She had never experienced a birth before and became very confused and agitated, which can happen with first-time mothers, according to Dr. Mitch Finnegan, the zoo's senior veterinarian. He said that in that case, keepers quickly intervened.

Rose-Tu's fans can track all her updates on the zoo's baby elephant blog.

Rose-Tu was placed in isolation and under 24-hour watch earlier in the week. Zookeepers have been spending the night in cots near the huge elephant, watching and waiting.

Raw video: Rose Tu in 'maternity ward'

The Oregon Zoo has 50 years of experience in birthing and raising Asian Elephants, and a very high success rate to go along with it. 

Ultrasound video below:

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