CONTACT: Kyle Shepherd
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The Louisville Zoo is thrilled to announce that 32-year-old African elephant Mikki is pregnant. An ultrasound exam performed by the Zoo’s veterinary staff earlier this week confirmed the pregnancy.
This pregnancy is the result of a planned and sophisticated artificial insemination process that began five years ago. Elephant gestation is 20 – 22 months. Through the monitoring of Mikki’s hormone data, the Zoo has concluded that Mikki conceived in October of 2017. She will likely give birth sometime in mid-to-late summer of 2019.
“We are very excited about Mikki’s pregnancy. Preserving the future of this species is critical to us and we solidified our commitment to elephants with the expansion of our exhibit in 2015,” said Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak. “Along with the expert, first-class attention and healthcare Mikki already receives, our animal care staff is also providing specialized prenatal care to safeguard the health of mother and calf throughout this long gestation period.”
“For Mikki, birthing and raising a calf is the most natural thing an elephant cow can do,” said Louisville Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi. “Adding a calf to Mikki and Punch’s group will also strengthen the familial bond they already share.”
This is Mikki’s second pregnancy. In March 2007, she gave birth to Scotty, who passed away due to complications of colic, a condition not uncommon in many elephants and horses. African elephants can become pregnant into their 40s.
The Louisville Zoo, a nonprofit 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 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
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