Reproductive Experts Ultrasound Elephants and Rhinos
Today’s ultrasound of Rozie the elephant revealed a striking image of her calf, due in November 2013 at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. The image shows a healthy calf about the size of a fist. Over the next 18 months, the calf will gain 200-250 pounds. Click here to see a larger image on Flickr.
Reproductive experts, Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt and Dr. Frank Goeritz, from the Berlin Institute for Zoo Biology and Wildlife Research, worked with Zoo animal care staff to assess the progress of Rozie’s pregnancy. The consultants also performed reproductive assessments on the other two female elephants, Alice and Irene, and two rhinoceroses, Lulu and Bernie.
“It’s been a whirlwind of activity as we hustle to get as much done as possible while we have this expertise,” said Rhonda Saiers, Elephant Barn Manager. “We have a long standing relationship with this team—they did the artificial insemination that resulted in Rozie’s first baby, Daizy. They have seen it all, and our animals and staff really benefit from their experience and knowledge.”
Zookeepers and veterinarians work year-round to do proactive training for health care procedures like the ultrasounds performed this week. The elephants and rhinos are rewarded for volunteer participation with goodies like Fruit Loops, hay and peanut butter.
The information gained during this week’s assessments will be used to manage Rozie’s pregnancy and to keep an eye on the reproductive systems of the other female elephants as they age. Keepers will also be working on future breeding possibilities for the rhino pair.