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It's official, Tucson: Reid Park Zoo's baby elephant is finally here

It's official, Tucson: Reid Park Zoo's baby elephant is finally here

Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona is proud to announce that Semba, the Zoo’s African elephant matriarch, gave birth to a calf at 3:33 a.m., Monday, April 6, 2020. The female calf who weighed in at 295 pounds is healthy, standing, and nursing.

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After almost two years of waiting, Reid Park Zoo just welcomed a baby elephant. 

Semba, a 30-year-old African elephant, gave birth to a female calf shortly after 3:30 a.m. Monday. The calf weighed in at 295 pounds and is healthy.

There's no name quite yet, though staff have been dabbling with a few choices. Look out for a poll to help name the calf soon. 

The birth comes more than five years after the calf's big sister Nandi was born. Nandi was the first elephant born in Arizona and very quickly stole the hearts of nearly every Tucsonan.

The new calf is believed to be the second elephant born in the state.

"Semba is an experienced mother," said Director of Zoological Operations Sue Tygielski in a press release. "After 22 long months of gestation, she had smooth labor without any complications."

The calf joins Semba, Nandi, father Mabu, big brother Sundzu and Lungile, who staff say is Nandi's and Sundzu's aunt.

Shortly after the calf was born, Semba encouraged the baby to meet and touch Nandi and Lungile. Mabu and Sundzu had the chance to see the calf later in the day.

Reid Park Zoo staff found out Semba was pregnant more than a year ago, as part of a breeding recommendation from a species survival plan. Since late February, keepers and docents have been watching Semba's every move — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Semba and her baby will continue to be monitored, as staff track things such as nursing and the baby's "firsts."

The zoo is currently closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but will keep the community updated on social media and on reidparkzoo.org, where live webcam footage of the elephant habitat is available.

Photo gallery: Baby watch at Reid Park Zoo

Contact reporter Gloria Knott at gknott@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @gloriaeknott

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