There Are Two New Babies At The Columbus Zoo And They Are Precious

Phoebe the Asian elephant and her calf. Photo by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to some adorable new babies.

Last week, an Asian elephant calf and a California sea lion pup were born. The births are important milestones for the zoo and they offer hope for the future of species that are at risk in their native range.

“There are so many reasons why these births are cause for celebration. Certainly, these babies are adorable, but they also represent the science, expertise, and collaboration across internal teams and other facilities as we collectively work to help protect these incredible species,” said Interim Columbus Zoo President/CEO Jerry Borin. “A very special thanks to the staff whose hard work and dedication helped to produce these results! We are also proud to share the fantastic news of the arrivals of the elephant calf and sea lion pup with our community, and we thank everyone for their continued support so these efforts can be possible.”

The male Asian elephant calf was born last Wednesday, June 16. The calf was born to mom Phoebe who is providing excellent care. Her baby is just beginning to venture out from the safety of his mom and he’s curious about his surroundings.

Asian elephant calf. Photo by Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Phoebe was pregnant for 22 months and she was monitored closely by the Zoo’s Animal Care team throughout. She has lived at the Columbus Zoo since 2002 and her pairing with Hank was recommended. Phoebe and her yet-to-be-named babye will be bonding in a private area for a while, then they will slowly be introduced to the rest of the herd.

Just two days after the elephant calf was born, the Zoo’s Pinniped team celebrated the arrival of a California sea lion pup. The baby’s sex has not been determined and mom Lovell and baby are already bonding behind-the-scenes in Adventure Cove.

Lovell came to the Zoo along with the other pinniped residents of Adventure Cove back in May 2020. Lovell was the first sea lion to give birth at the Zoo last summer when she had a female pup named Sunshine in June 2020.

Adventure Cove furthers the Zoo’s commitment to sea lion rehabilitation initiatives led by institutions accredited by the AZA. The Columbus Zoo has provided financial support for years for rescue and rehabilitation efforts by The Marine Mammal Center (MMC) in Sausalito, Calif., and the Zoo’s Animal Health staff have trained with the MMC to nurse stranded and injured marine mammals back to health while expanding their knowledge of sea lions and seals.

California seas lions aren’t listed as a species of concern, but the situation for seas lions in their native range is becoming dire due to a number of pup strandings. Climate change has forced mothers to hunt further from shore and more of them are not returning, leaving pups orphaned on shore. The MMC takes in many of these animals and works to restore them to health.

Lovell and her pup will stay in the behind-the-scenes area for a while until the pup has bonded with mom and hit some key milestones, like swimming. Guests who reserve a Behind the Marina Sea Lion Tour will have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the duo as well as learn about sea lions.

For more information about visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, please visit columbuszoo.org.

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