A jumbo-sized bundle of joy is expected at the Louisville Zoo next year.
The zoo’s 32-year-old African elephant, Mikki, is expecting, the zoo announced Friday.
Elephant gestation is 20 to 22 months, and the baby will likely be born during mid- to late-summer of 2019.
“We will wait while you shout with glee too…we will share our ultrasound pictures soon,” the zoo posted on Facebook.
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Mikki became pregnant through “a planned and sophisticated artificial insemination process that began five years ago,” the zoo said in a news release. African elephants remain fertile into their 40s, the zoo said.
Mikki’s pregnancy was confirmed by ultrasound earlier in the week, the zoo said. She is thought to have conceived in October.
“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,” Director John Walczak said. “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.”
Mikki has had one other pregnancy. Her baby Scotty was born in 2007 but later died from complications of colic, which the zoo said is not uncommon for elephants.
“For Mikki, birthing and raising a calf is the most natural thing an elephant cow can do,” said Dr. Zoli Gyimesi, the zoo’s senior veterinarian. “Adding a calf to Mikki and Punch’s group will also strengthen the familial bond they already share.”