Help Name The Baby Elephant at Columbus Zoo

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The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced a naming opportunity for the female Asian Elephant calf born on December 6. The baby is the first Elephant to be born at the zoo in 10 years.

You are invited to help name the calf by voting from a list provided by the Koblentz family in honor and memory of Kathryn Elisabeth Anderson Koblentz. Kathy served the zoo in many roles throughout her life, first as a budget analyst; progressing to Treasurer, President and Chair of the Board of Directors (the first woman to hold these offices); and as both an honorary and active docent at the zoo.  

Asian Elephant Calf 0402 - Grahm S. Jones Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Asian Elephant Calf 0402 - Grahm S. Jones Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Kathy’s husband Bob and his family, in conjunction with the zoo’s animal care team, selected the following potential names for the new baby Elephant:

  • Darcy: inspired by Kathy’ favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen. Kathy and Bob also had a beloved collie named Darcy.
  • Lizzie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth, which is also a name variation of the central character, Elizabeth, in Kathy’s favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen.
  • Ellie: inspired by Kathy’s middle name Elisabeth
  • Kobie: inspired by Kathy’s last name Koblentz

From December 12, 2018 until January 3, 2019, fans can vote for a single name once within each 24-hour period on the Columbus Zoo’s website. The name of the female calf will be announced on the Zoo’s social media accounts and website on January 4, 2019.

The calf and her mother, Phoebe, are now spending some time each day in the Elephant community room for limited hours from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. while still offering them some privacy as they continue to bond behind the scenes. This schedule is determined by Phoebe and her calf and will be adjusted accordingly to best fit their needs.

The soon-to-be named calf is the first Elephant born at the Columbus Zoo in almost 10 years and the first to be born at the Zoo as a result of artificial insemination. Mother, Phoebe, is a 31-year-old Asian Elephant who came to the Zoo in January 2002. While Phoebe has had the opportunity to breed with Hank, a 30-year-old male Elephant at the Columbus Zoo, the attempts were unsuccessful and she was artificially inseminated with sperm from Hank and a male from another zoo. The father of the calf is not yet known and will be determined through a DNA test with results expected in the coming weeks. Artificial insemination enables an Elephant to be impregnated at her most fertile time. While still a relatively rare procedure for Elephants, attempts to artificially inseminate Elephants are becoming more frequent in an effort to bolster the numbers of endangered Elephants, whose populations are rapidly declining in their native range.

The calf joins the herd of six Asian Elephants in the Asia Quest region: males, Hank and Beco, and females, Phoebe, Connie, Sundara (Sunny) and Rudy. There have been three successful Asian Elephant births at the Columbus Zoo throughout the Zoo’s history, and all three have been born to Phoebe —this most recent calf, Beco in 2009 and male, Bodhi, who was born in 2004 and now resides at Denver Zoo. Coco, who passed away at the Columbus Zoo in 2011, was the sire of Beco and Bodhi.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, Asian Elephants are listed as endangered in their native range across southern and southeastern Asia and are in decline due to various factors, including habitat loss/degradation and poaching. The World Elephant Day organization estimates that there are less than 40,000 Asian Elephants and fewer than 400,000 African Elephants remaining worldwide.

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