Trainers prepare elephant for birth

Oklahoma City Zoo workers have been training Asha to prepare her for the birth of her calf.
By Carrie Coppernoll Modified: November 21, 2010 at 7:23 am •  Published: November 21, 2010

Keepers are preparing for the first elephant birth at the Oklahoma City Zoo by focusing on specialized training.

Trainers are giving special attention to Asha, who is due to deliver her calf in May.

“It'll be a team effort for the birth,” pachyderm supervisor Nick Newby said. “So every day we work with her individually as a team.”

The team has been training her for specific actions that will be necessary during delivery, such as remaining still. Asha has been performing very well, Newby said.

“She's doing awesome,” he said. “She's doing really well.”

But the pachyderm team is also working with her sister, Chandra. Chandra had one last breeding attempt with the Tulsa elephant Sneezy before the sisters returned to Oklahoma City. Her pregnancy status is unknown, so keepers are working with her in case she is pregnant. Even if she isn't pregnant this time around, the training will be good for her if she breeds in the future, Newby said.

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