Ringling Bros. announces four Asian elephant pregnancies at Center for Elephant Conservation

October 15, 2000

Vienna, VA - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) is thrilled to report that four of its female Asian elephants are pregnant.

"We are extremely proud to have four simultaneous pregnancies at the CEC. It speaks volumes about our outstanding breeding and conservation program, as well as the knowledge gained through 130 years of living and working with elephants," said Dr. William Lindsay, director of veterinary medicine for Ringling Bros. "Currently, fewer than 50,000 Asian elephants remain on earth, so every Asian elephant calf that is born today helps ensure survival of the species tomorrow."

The newly-expecting pachyderm parents are 25-year old Icky, 33-year-old Mala, 33-year-old Sally and 25-year-old Alana. All four were bred with Charlie, a 30-year old Asian bull elephant who also makes his home at the CEC. The four mothers, who will go through a 22- to 23- month gestation period, are in good health, and are experiencing normal pregnancies. Icky will be the first to deliver in April 2001. Mala is due in November 2001, Sally in January 2002 and Alana will deliver almost a year later in December 2002. Dr. Dennis Schmitt, one of the world's leading elephant reproduction experts and an associate professor at Southwest Missouri State University, is working with Dr. Lindsay to monitor the pregnancies and will continue to counsel the CEC as it moves forward with its breeding program.

As part of their regular prenatal care, the female elephants are receiving weekly blood tests to monitor progesterone levels, regular physical examinations and ultrasounds. During their last six months of pregnancy, the elephants will gain 300-350 pounds, and by the final three months, the handlers will start sleeping in the barn so they can keep a watchful eye on the elephants. The elephant's mammary glands will develop and begin to produce milk in the final month. When their progesterone levels show low readings, labor is imminent. Upon delivery, the newborn elephant calves are expected to weigh between 250-300 pounds.

"This is extremely exciting news," said David Hagan, president of the Elephant Managers Association and curator of The Indianapolis Zoo. "Ringling Bros. continues to be a leader in the care, breeding and conservation of the Asian elephant. Elephant experts throughout North America recognize the importance of breeding elephants so our children's children can continue to experience this magnificent species."

To date, Ringling Bros.' ten-year-old conservation program has successfully bred ten Asian elephants. Eight of the calves are still under the care of Ringling Bros. Juliette, Kelly Ann and Bonnie perform on the Ringling Bros. Blue Unit, while Romeo, Doc, Angelica, Shirley and Osgood live at the CEC.

Osgood, the CEC's most recent addition, celebrated his first birthday on August 16. Born "blue" or oxygen-deprived, Osgood had to be revived on arrival and was then so weak that he could barely stand without the support of two men to hoist up his 250-pound body. Had Osgood been born in the wild, he would never have survived. Today, the 1,337-pound pachyderm is alive and well thanks to the CEC's highly regarded team of experts.
-end-
The Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC) was founded by Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, to keep Asian elephants alive for future generations. Built in 1995, this 200-acre, state-of-the-art facility was designed for the conservation, breeding, scientific study and retirement of the Asian elephant, enabling Ringling Bros. to share its knowledge with veterinary and scientific communities worldwide.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

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