Memphis Zoo awaiting baby elephant birth

June 4, 2009 at 3:27 PM

MEMPHIS, June 4 (UPI) -- Employees at the Memphis Zoo say they're preparing for their African elephant Asali to give birth to the zoo's newest addition.

Zoo elephant manager Andrew Smith said Asali, who is 21 months pregnant, appears calm despite signs of an impending birth, the Memphis Commercial-Appeal reported Wednesday.

"She's a really calm animal. We feel good about the way she looks and acts, and seeing so much movement in that baby, it's great," Smith said.

The elephant was artificially inseminated in September 2007 and soon the Memphis Zoo should witness the first elephant birth in its 103-year history.

Zoo curator Matt Thompson said action has been taken to prevent Asali and her unborn calf from gaining too much weight, which would create potential health risks.

"A too-big baby can cause complications. And we've found that in the wild, they're born fairly thin and not overweight," Thompson told the newspaper.

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