Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Toledo Zoo Birth

New Birth
The Toledo Zoo celebrated the birth of their second calf near midnight on Friday, June 3. The zoo had previously announced in late March their 32 year old female African elephant Renee was pregnant and due to give birth in late spring or early summer. She conceived the animal via artificial insemination with semen collected from Callee of Pittsburgh and Ajani of Indianapolis. World renowned elephant expert Dr. Dennis Schmitt assisted in the procedure and process. The yet-unnamed calf joined a herd of three – his mother Renee, his eight year old half brother Louie and 26 year old Twiggy. More information regarding the calf and photos as well will be added once released to the public.

>> Notnamed at

Renee and her calf, Toledo Zoo, June 2011
Courtesy of

In early May, the zoo celebrated Louie’s eighth birthday. The party was helped with planning from elephant supervisor Don Redfox, whom returned to work in a limited capacity following his life-threatening injuries after he was attacked by Louie in 2010. Work in progress included preparation for the new elephant calf and construction of the second phase of the elephant exhibit renovation. Louie enjoyed the occasion with a 50-pound cake made of cornmeal with peanut butter frosting and celery stalks stood in for candles.

Louie, Toledo Zoo, May 2011
Courtesy of The Toledo Blade/Lori King

In mid May, the zoo received a $100,000 donation from the Eaton Corporation to be put towards Phase II of the elephant upgrades. An oversize check was ceremoniously gifted to pregnant Renee.
"The check presented to Renee was completely edible and did not contain anything that would be harmful to her. The substance on the back of the check was not glue, rather peanut butter :) And the ink on the check was non-toxic. Cardboard boxes are given to the elephants as a form of enrichment. Cardboard and paper are made from wood, which elephants are able to digest (you may often see them eating branches in the exhibit). It is not harmful to them, as they are able to digest the cellulose in wood." //Toledo Zoo

More information regarding the new facilities construction can be found at a previous May 2011 article by ShowMe Elephants.

>> "Toledo Zoo Elephant Facilities" at ShowMe Elephants

Renee, Toledo Zoo, May 2011
Courtesy of The Toledo Zoo on Facebook

Renee, Toledo Zoo, May 2011
Courtesy of The Toledo Zoo on Facebook


  1. Radar,
    With so many error's in need of correction on the data base, would it not make sense to wait until the parentage is confirmed before posting an immediate birth to the data base? God forbid if anything happens, would there even be a need to list happening's like this except as a separate footnote to elephant history?

    Wade Burck

  2. Wade,
    I disagree. Regardless of his parentage, the calf was born and is now a resident of the Toledo Zoo. Just because we do not know which of two bulls sired the calf does not discount his existence. Because of a helpful change made by creator Dan Koehl to the database, it can now be clearly distinguished there are multiple possibilities as to which bull sired a calf. With this option in use for Toledo's new calf, there is no incorrect information presented, only information that will later be updated when possible.

    It is irregardless whether the calf survives or not (as you stated, God forbid), in reference to recording these happenings. Every birth, every death, every transfer, etc need to be recorded and discussed to present an overall view of elephants in captivity, especially when looking in retrospect to the history of the industries.

  3. Sounds like a good reason to visit the Toledo Zoo! Interesting how the wrinkled forehead is a shared characteristic of Renee and Louie. It'll be interesting to see if the baby boy will develop one, too.

  4. Radar,
    In the scheme of the main reason to keep pedigree records for the breeding of endangered species, "because of a helpful change made by creator Dan Koehl to the database, it can now be clearly distinguished there are multiple possibilities as to which bull sired a calf" I don't agree this information is useful for anything other then "jackpots". As breeding elephants is the main objective, I disagree and suggest this calf is "non existent" until parentage is verified.

    Wade Burck

  5. Wade,
    In your scenario, I can understand your perspective. However, breeding elephants is not my main objective nor is keeping pedigree records for the breeding of endangered species.

    I try to learn as much as I can about individual elephants and institutions' history with elephants because it interests me. As you have said,, "Zoo/circus animal history is one of the most fascinating subjects in the world."

  6. The Toledo Zoo is hosting a "Name the Baby" contest for the new calf. Choices are 'Lucas' (honoring Lucas County voters' long time support of the zoo; keepers' choice), 'Chuck' (in recognition of the first animal donated to the Zoo in 1900, a woodchuck), and Iain (after the noted African elephant conservationist, Iain Douglas-Hamilton).

    Voting ends on Monday, June 27. To vote, go to:


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.