Zoo’s Elephant Preggers?

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The countdown is on. Ten weeks until we know for sure if the National Zoo's 32-year-old Asian Elephant, Shanthi, is going to have another baby. Remember back in 2001 when Shanthi gave birth to Kandula? For a few rare moments, Washington, D.C. was going gaga over elephants—the real ones.

Now, Zoo officials have announced that Shanthi was artificially inseminated with the sperm of a bull elephant from the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum in Oklahoma.

Apparently, it's quite a challenge to get an elephant pregnant. All conditions have to be just so—the female needs to be healthy and happy, the bull elephant's semen has to be put in just the right place and, it's all a matter timing. Is this too much information?

As scientists monitor the level of hormone in Shanthi's blood, we'll keep you posted. Keep your figure's crossed.

(Photograph Courtesy of the National Zoo)

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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