Toledo Zoo announces African elephant, Renee, is expecting

Press Staff Writer

        The Toledo Zoo is expecting the pitter patter of not-so-little feet –  as Renee 43-year-old African elephant is pregnant and due to give birth in spring 2024.
        “We are thrilled about Renee’s pregnancy,” said Michael Frushour, the Zoo’s curator of mammals. “Preserving the future of this species is critical to us, and we are committed to doing so. We’re looking forward to the new calf joining our elephant family, and we’re optimistic that everything will go well for Renee.”
        Renee’s pregnancy is the result of a planned and sophisticated artificial insemination (AI) process. “It has taken months of coordination working with our partners in the field. It takes a special team of experts to perform an elephant AI, and we prioritized working with the best professionals within the United States and the world to make sure that happens,” Frushour said.
        An elephant pregnancy lasts about 23 months, and a newborn weighs about 250-350 pounds. This is Renee’s third pregnancy through artificial AI. At this point, the sex of the calf is unknown.
        Renee receives regular prenatal health checkups from the zoo’s veterinary staff. “Along with the expert, first-class attention and healthcare Renee already receives, our staff is also providing specialized prenatal care to safeguard the health of Renee and her calf throughout this long gestation period,” Frushour said.
        For updates on Renee’s pregnancy and other information on the zoo’s elephant family, follow The Toledo Zoo on social media or visit
It’s twins!
        The Zoo also recently announced the birth of twin Polar bear cubs, born to 24-year-old female, Crystal, and 18-year-old male, Nuka.
        In March 2022, the Zoo announced the addition of Nuka after the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Program (SSP) issued a breeding recommendation for Crystal in hopes of mating to sustain this endangered species. 
        “We’re very happy to welcome these two new cubs and boost the long-term sustainability of the species,” Frushour said.
        Crystal's eighth and ninth cubs were born Nov. 11, each weighing approximately two pounds. Their genders are unknown at this time and will be determined at their first neonatal exam, which will take place in February.
        Crystal and the cubs are currently in the birthing den, which provides a quiet, safe place for a mother to give birth and raise cubs. In the wild, this would be in a snow bank or side of a hill. Keepers and vet staff monitor the cubs via a camera that also picks up audio. Sometimes the cubs are not visible due to positioning, but they can still be heard nursing.
        Male polar bears do not participate in the rearing of young; therefore, Nuka remains on exhibit daily. Crystal and the cubs are estimated to make their public exhibit debut in spring 2023.
        In the meantime, those who want to catch a glimpse of Crystal and the cubs can watch a live feed on the Toledo Zoo’s YouTube channel, Live feed viewing is available daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The camera will be off after 4 p.m., but viewers can still hear the Polar bears through the microphone.
        “We're proud to be able to give the community a sneak peek at the cubs in real-time before they're on exhibit,” said Frushour.


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