FORT WORTH, Texas -- While the world anxiously awaits the birth of a royal baby in England, another baby is stealing the show in Texas.
The Fort Worth Zoo announced the birth of a 330-pound female Asian elephant. After a 22-month gestation period, the parents, 40-year-old Rasha and 43-year-old Groucho, welcomed the calf the morning of July 7. She is only the second elephant calf born in the zoo's 104-year history.
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“This is a very exciting time for the Fort Worth Zoo and for elephant conservation,” said Michael Fouraker, Zoo executive director. “Since 1986 the Zoo has demonstrated a concerted commitment to keeping the Asian elephant species viable. This calf’s birth is an excellent opportunity to educate the community about the importance of elephant conservation.”
According to the Fort Worth Zoo, it has become an international leader in elephant conservation since establishing its elephant breeding program in 1986, and with this female calf's successful birth, it continues to establish itself as such.
The calf does not have a name yet. The zoo is asking for the public's help in choosing her name.
Fort Worth Zoo staff selected six names for the baby elephant from which the public may choose:
- Belle (short for Bluebell) - The bluebell is a wildflower found throughout Texas; symbolizes humility and gratitude.
- Maggie (short for Magnolia) - Symbolizes sweetness, beauty and love of nature.
- Rose - “The Yellow Rose of Texas” is an iconic song of Texas.
- Ruby - One of the four precious stones and July’s birthstone; rubies are laid beneath buildings in Asian countries to secure good fortune for the structure.
- Sage - Purple sage is the official native shrub of Texas.
- Tujuh (too-joo) - Means “seven” in Indonesian; this calf was born in the seventh month on the seventh day of the seventh moon.
Voting will take place from July 11 to July 25 on the Fort Worth Zoo’s Facebook page and at the Asian elephant exhibit inside the zoo. The name that receives the most votes will be the baby elephant’s name. The winning name will be announced July 25 on the Zoo’s website and Facebook page.
The zoo says both Rasha and her calf are in great condition. It says the calf will be viewable at various times during the day, but those times will be dictated by her movement as she gets acclimated to her surroundings.