PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon Zoo’s Asian elephant Chendra is pregnant.
According to zoo staff, Chendra’s pregnancy was a welcome surprise. At the age of 26, she was nearing the outer age-limit for first-time elephant moms.
“We are so excited for Chendra,” said Bob Lee, who oversees the zoo’s elephant area. “Raising a calf is one of the most enriching things an elephant can experience, and we didn’t know whether she would ever have that chance. Asian elephants have evolved to live in small social groups, and every member of the group has some role in raising you. We’re thrilled by the prospect that Chendra and the rest of the herd may get that opportunity in the near future.”
In what could be a potentially unfortunate turn of events, one of Chendra’s recent blood tests contained an early predictor of tuberculosis. While not a definitive TB diagnosis, the test results have zoo staff preparing for that outcome.
The gestation period for elephants is about 22 months. If everything goes well, she should give birth in 2020.