Rose-Tu delivers! 300-pound baby elephant born at Oregon Zoo

Rose-Tu delivers! 300-pound baby elephant born at Oregon Zoo
PORTLAND, Ore. - Oregon Zoo officials have announced that Rose-Tu has given birth to a 300-pound bundle of joy - and it's a girl.

Officials said the pregnant elephant gave birth early Friday morning after about 30 hours of labor.

"We're all delighted at the arrival of Rose-Tu's new calf," said Kim Smith, Oregon Zoo director. "The calf is beautiful, healthy, tall and very vigorous."

"She's vocalizing loudly," Smith said in a press release. "The first time we heard her, the sound was so deep and loud that we thought it was Shine. She's definitely got a great set of pipes, and it looks like she's going to be a real pistol."

Smith said staffers cleaned the new arrival and checked the "wiggling" calf's health moments after it was born and then worked to unite mother and daughter, a step that can be treacherous.

"When Samudra was born, it was four days before [Rose-Tu] would even let him come near her, so we're much farther along this time," Smith said. "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. Our animal-care staff is working hard to help the two along, and things are progressing every minute."

Mama Rose-Tu, who is 18 years old, is reportedly doing just fine following the birth. Smith said all the preparations for the birth "paid off" but it will take a little time before the newborn elephant will be visible to zoo visitors. Rose-Tu gave birth to Samudra in 2008.

"The main thing determining that will be the strength of the bond between Rose-Tu and the calf," said Bob Lee, the zoo's elephant curator.

As they did with Samudra in 2008, the public will be invited to submit names for the new elephant, according to zoo officials.

The elephants at the zoo live in a matriarchal herd, as elephants do in the wild, zoo officials said. The Oregon Zoo is planning to begin construction on Elephant Lands, an expansion of the elephant habitat that will expand the elephants' space and "dramatically enhance their experiences and daily routines."

The latest arrival marks the 28th baby elephant born at the Oregon Zoo.