Reid Park Zoo announces that Semba, a 24-year old African Elephant,
successfully delivered a female calf at 10:55pm last night! Both mother
and calf appear to be doing well, but are spending quiet time in the
Click Family Elephant Care Center under the watchful eyes of the
elephant team. This is Semba’s third calf, but the first elephant ever
born at Reid Park Zoo.   Congratulations to the Reid Park Zoo staff.

Keepers and trained volunteers have been observing Semba’s moves
around-the-clock since early July. Throughout the day on August 20,
Semba was moving more slowly than usual, but she continued to eat and
interact with the rest of the herd. At approximately 10:35pm, in the
quiet of her normal evening surroundings and under the watchful eye of
her Keepers, she began to exhibit signs of active labor including laying
down, walking backwards, and extending her tail. She gave birth very
soon after. She progressed quickly and delivered without any
intervention from the staff. The calf hit the ground at exactly 10:55pm,
took her first breath immediately, stood up within minutes, and began to
nurse within the hour. The calf has not been named and has not been
weighed yet.

“We are beyond excited,” states Fred Gray, Director of Parks and
Recreation. “I could not be more proud of our staff for their hard
work and preparation for this important day. Our top priority is the
health of Semba and her calf - and I’m pleased to hear they are both
doing well. The City is committed to the future of African elephants,
and leading the field of elephant care with colleagues. This is a
fitting gift to the Tucson community on our 239th birthday.”

The first 48-72 hours following the birth are the most essential for
Semba and her calf to form a strong physical and emotional bond.
Absolutely no visitors or non-essential staff members are being admitted
to the Elephant Care Center at this time. Once the calf is nursing
regularly and following Semba instinctually, additional areas of the
holding facility will be opened for them to explore. Keepers will also
be watching to make sure Semba is eating, drinking, and recovering
normally from the physical stresses of labor. As the calf gains
strength, she will be introduced to the rest of the herd.

“This birth, literally the largest in the history of the State of
Arizona, represents a significant milestone for the Zoo,” states Jason
Jacobs, Zoo Administrator. “This birth would not have been possible
without the vision and partnership of the City of Tucson, Reid Park Zoo,
Reid Park Zoological Society, and San Diego Zoo Global.” This
calf’s arrival is living testament to the dedication of so many
generous donors and supporters who worked together to build Expedition
Tanzania, with a shared goal of housing a breeding herd of elephants in
Tucson. Our Zoo staff looks forward to keeping the community updated on
the progress of the calf and the rest of the herd.”