WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Sedgwick County Zoo has a big announcement. Two of its African elephants are pregnant. For years, zoo officials and visitors have hoped for a baby elephant, but it has never happened.
On Tuesday, the zoo announced that Simunye (si-MOON-yay) and Talia (tuh-LEE-uh) are pregnant. Routine blood tests confirmed the pregnancies, and while it is still very early, both elephants are progressing beautifully.
“Elephants are pregnant for about 22 months,” Lauren Ripple, elephant care manager, said in a news release. “So we’re planning for a very exciting spring of 2025.”
Simunye has given birth before. One of her children is Titan, a male elephant at the zoo. This is Talia’s first pregnancy.
Bull elephants Ajani, Callee, and, in Talia’s case, Titan, are all potential fathers. Paternity will be confirmed once the calves are born.
The Sedgwick County Zoo says its elephant care team is dedicated to ensuring the well-being of Simunye and Talia and the calves throughout their pregnancies. The team monitors the elephants’ body condition, hormones, and vitamin and mineral intake and does routine bloodwork.
“We are extremely excited to share our two pregnancies with everyone,” Ripple says. “Simunye’s last calf was born nearly 15 years ago and Talia will be a first-time mom. With these pregnancies, just as with humans, there are always risks in the early phases. We are cautiously optimistic and looking forward to sharing updates throughout this journey.”
These pregnancies hold immense significance for the sustainability of African elephants in North America. As these majestic creatures face challenges in the wild, every birth in an AZA-accredited institution plays a crucial role in safeguarding the future of the species. Sedgwick County Zoo is proud to contribute to the African elephant population in North America and remains committed to these vital sustainability efforts.