Oregon Zoo's baby elephant Lily is set to meet public

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Zookeepers say Rose-Tu's new calf is ready for her close-up

Lily, the Oregon Zoo's 11-day-old Asian elephant, is ready to make her much-anticipated public debut this week, veterinarians and keepers say. Beginning Friday, Dec. 14, Rose-Tu and her new calf will be together in the indoor viewing gallery of the zoo's Asian elephant exhibit.

Viewing hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., though keepers caution that these hours are subject to change. The well-being of Rose-Tu and her calf are the zoo's top priority, and visitor viewing may be closed if the animal-care staff feels the elephants need some additional quiet time. Changes in schedule will be posted as quickly as possible to the zoo's website. Visitors may also visit the site for updates, photos and videos.

In an effort to accommodate everyone, the zoo will be admitting 30 people at a time into the viewing gallery for five minutes each. Visitors who wish to spend more time can get in line again. If the line gets really long, not everyone may be admitted.

No flash photography is permitted in the gallery, and zoo officials have asked that guests remain quiet during their visit toavoid frightening Rose-Tu and Lily. Zoo volunteers will be on hand to answerquestions about the elephants.

"We appreciate everyone's patience and cooperation," said Kim Smith, zoo director. "We're taking things slowly to make sure Rose-Tu and her new calf are completely comfortable."

Lily, born Nov. 30 at 2:17 a.m., weighed a hefty 300 pounds at birth and has been described by zoo animal-care staff as a "spitfire."

"She's got quite a personality," said Bob Lee, elephant curator. "Lily continues to nurse and grow. She now weighs 316 pounds and is a little more than 3 feet tall at the shoulder."

Keepers say she is eating and sleeping well — and like most newborns, she does quite a bit of both. Rose-Tu has shown good maternal instincts and remains attentive to her new calf, keepers say.

Guests coming to see Rose-Tu's new baby are encouraged to bring baby shower "gifts" for human babies in need. Children's Relief Nursery, a community-based program of LifeWorks NW, will be collecting donations at the zoo this weekend. Babies in the local community are especially in need of infant formula (e.g., common brands like Similac Advanced); diapers in sizes 3, 4 and 5; pull-ups (all sizes); wipes; children's books and games (English and Spanish); and new car seats. LifeWorks NW is a nonprofit prevention, mental health and addiction services agency committed to supporting a healthy community.

The Oregon Zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission of inspiring the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save endangered California condors, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot and Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, Western pond turtles and Oregon spotted frogs. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
 
The zoo relies in part on community support through donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation to undertake these and many other animal welfare, education and sustainability programs. The zoo is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26 at exit 72. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Visitors who travel to the zoo via MAX receive $1.50 off zoo admission. Find fare and route information online or by calling TriMet Customer Service at 503-238-RIDE (7433).
 
General zoo admission is $10.50 (ages 12-64), $9 for seniors (65 and up), $7.50 for children (ages 3-11) and free for those 2 and younger; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $4 per car is also required. Additional information is available by calling 503-226-1561.

Media contact: 

Hova Najarian | 503-220-5714 | hova.najarian@oregonzoo.org
Ian Gillingham | 503-220-2448 | ian.gillingham@oregonzoo.org