photo - side view of jackson bull elephant, gray, with ear flat, and trunk up, with large white tusks

Louisville Zoo Announces Elephant Calf Paternity

CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
Direct: 502-238-5331  |  Media Only: 502-744-5639

 The Louisville Zoo’s 34-year-old African elephant Mikki gave birth to Fitz, a male calf on Aug. 2. A DNA comparison was recently performed using blood samples from Mikki, Fitz and both possible sires. The result of the DNA test reveals the sire of Fitz is 40-year-old African bull Jackson at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Jackson has been at the Pittsburgh Zoo since 1994 and has sired 16 calves. Four of those elephants are still at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Jackson is currently residing at Pittsburgh Zoo’s International Conservation Center in Somerset County, PA.

Mikki became pregnant through artificial insemination in October 2017 with the help of the Louisville Zoo elephant care team, veterinary staff and the consulting expertise of Dr. Dennis Schmitt, the leading authority on elephant reproductive physiology and veterinary management in North America.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) elephant breeding program is administered under the auspices of the Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP). The plan promotes the survival of elephant species into the future by providing links between zoo animal “ambassadors” and the conservation of their counterparts in the remnant wild.

Mikki and Fitz are on exhibit daily right now weather permitting. Times will vary due to weather and temperatures. Zoo guests can visit to see daily updates for elephant viewing.


The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).