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ABQ BioPark Staff Members are Employees of the Week

Veterinarians and Elephant Keepers Celebrated for Birth of Calf

November 1, 2013


ALBUQUERQUE, NM—Today Chief Administrative Officer Robert J. Perry honored a group of city employees that spent years preparing for the arrival of Jazmine, the newest member of the ABQ BioPark Zoo’s Asian elephant herd. The calf was born on October 2 and was the third elephant born at the Zoo and in New Mexico.

Members of the Zoo’s veterinarian and elephant management staff spent many hours training mother Rozie prior to the birth. When there was uncertainty about the position of the baby in utero, they used their training to position Jazmine for a successful birth. The team even spent four nights sleeping at the elephant barn to make sure they were present for the birth of Rozie’s second calf.

"We are thrilled about the safe arrival of the elephant calf," said Perry. "Our Zoo has an elephant program that is truly world-class, thanks to the hard work of our professional staff and the support from our community. Their months of training and planning prepared them for this successful and important event."
Rozie first showed signs of labor on September 28. She labored for two hours, then stopped, which is a common pattern for elephants giving birth. On Sunday, ultrasounds and examinations revealed that the calf did not have its front or back feet pointing into the birth canal, a position that is necessary for successful delivery.

After careful consideration, the staff got Rozie rocking back and forth, lying on her sides, and lifting and pressing her back feet against the wall, among other moves, to help reposition the calf. On Tuesday night, once the calf was in the proper position, Dr. Zimmerman decided to administer a low dose of hormones to help induce labor and about two hours later, at 12:47 a.m., the calf was born, front feet first.

Jazmine is the seventh member of the Zoo’s herd. She is thriving with her family and learning how to use her trunk by picking up browse and trying to get it to her mouth. Rozie was the first elephant born at the Zoo back in 1992. She gave birth to Daizy, her first calf, in 2009. The multi-generation herd now includes Rozie, her mother Alice, and daughters Daizy and Jazmine. An unrelated female, Irene, is also part of the herd and has been a good auntie. Samson and Albert, two young males, have formed a bachelor herd and can be seen in yards adjacent to the females.

Zoo guests can see "Jazzy" for a few hours each day. The schedule varies depending on weather and the needs of the herd. Guests can find the daily schedule by checking, calling 311 or asking a Zoo cashier upon arrival. For updates, behind-the-scenes footage and background information about Jazmine, visit

Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are endangered with only 40,000 left in the wild. The ABQ BioPark participates in the Elephant Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP boosts elephant reproduction efforts and promotes genetic diversity to build a self-sustaining elephant population in North America.

Employees recognized: BioPark Director Rick Janser, Dr. Ralph Zimmerman, D.V.M., Dr. Carol Bradford, D.V.M., Lynn Tupa, Zoo Manager, Gwen Dragoo, Head Veterinarian Technician, Rhonda Saiers, Elephant Manager, Amber Alink, Senior Keeper, Debra Vasquez, Senior Keeper, Lindsay Eagan, Senior Keeper, Tony Esparza, Senior Keeper, Jeff Stanton, Keeper, and Emma Celmins, Keeper.