Rose-Tu close to giving birth at Oregon Zoo


by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff

Posted on November 16, 2012 at 5:22 PM

PORTLAND – The Oregon Zoo is preparing for the birth of an Asian Elephant. Rose-Tu is close to delivering her second baby calf.

Elephant keepers are checking Rose-Tu’s blood for changes in progesterone level, which would indicate labor is ready to begin. So far there’s been no change.

But as of Friday Rose’s gestation period has lasted five days longer than with her first calf Samudra. So the new calf could be born any day, and zoo officials say Rose is ready.

“She’s doing great, Rose is really fit. We’re watching her weight very closely and making sure that she’s healthy and active, and that’s really the best thing that you can do to have a successful calf,” said Asian Elephant Curator Bob Lee.

When Samudra was born four years ago, things didn’t go smoothly. Rose-Tu, as a first mother, became spooked and stomped on the newborn calf. Zookeepers expect she will do better with experience. Still there is a mix of emotions at the zoo.

Photos: Rose Tu & Samudra ready for new addition

“There’s a lot of excitement but there’s also a lot of preparation that’s gone into it. So it’s like with your own kids you’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, so it’s a roller coaster of emotions anytime you work with elephants, that’s for sure,” said Lee.

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

Everyone following Rose-Tu’s journey to deliver her second calf is hoping for a healthy finish after 20-plus months. Sara Tucker and her new baby were watching Rose-Tu and Samudra Friday.

“She loves the elephants, so we can’t wait to see the new baby,” said Tucker.

The Oregon Zoo has a babyblog set up for anyone wanting to keep apprised of Rose-Tu’s pregnancy and impending birth. The latest post answers some of the most common questions you may have.