Public Debut Weekend -- September 23-25, 2011

The three-month-old calf made her public debut on September 23, 2011 with her mother Rani and other members of her three generation family. Raja, Kenzi's father, will also be available for viewing in an adjacent habitat.

Rani gave birth to the 300-pound baby girl on June 24, 2011. Kenzi weighed over 380 pounds by her public debut on September 23, 2011.

"Kenzi is thriving under the care of her mother, grandmother and two older sisters," says Curator of Mammals Martha Fischer. "Rani is an excellent, caring and protective mother, and she has incredible support from Ellie, Maliha and Jade. It is so amazing to watch everyone in the elephant family look after Kenzi. They all take turns playing with her and doting on her," says Fischer. "Kenzi is definitely the center of attention for everyone in the herd. Even with elephants, everything revolves around the baby of the family."

During her first days of life, she met her grandmother and older sisters who have warmly welcomed her into the family. The elephant care team has been gradually introducing her to her habitat at River's Edge.

Birth Announcement

The Saint Louis Zoo is proud to announce the birth of an Asian elephant on Friday, June 24, 2011. Rani, one of the Zoo's Asian elephants, gave birth at 1:13 p.m. As of June 28, the baby weighs 297 pounds and stands 39 inches tall.

She Shall Be Named... KENZI

Thank you for helping us choose a name for the baby elephant! The Saint Louis Zoo received 128,821 votes for its Name the Baby Elephant poll. On Tuesday, July 5, 2011, at 2 p.m., zookeepers revealed the winning name for the Zoo's newest Asian elephant in the center elephant yard of River's Edge. Kenzi's half sister, Maliha, and her grandmother, Ellie, were present for the announcement.

The Zoo's elephant care staff selected four favorite female names - June, Zoe, Mya and Kenzi - and invited the public to vote for their favorite in a naming poll that ran from Tuesday, June 28 through Monday, July 4, 2011.

Kenzi won with 69,406 (53.88%) votes cast online at stlzoo.org, facebook.com/stlzoo, twitter.com/stlzoo, ballots at Zoo Welcome Desks, and through postcards sent directly to the Zoo. Runner up June received 40,683 votes (31.58%), Zoe received 12,249 votes (9.51%) and Mya received 6,438 votes (5%). Write-ins received .03% of the vote.

More about Rani and Baby

"Rani was protective of her baby from the start," says Fischer. "She did a great job of carrying and giving birth to a beautiful baby."

This is Rani's second baby and the third for Raja, the baby's father. Raja was the first elephant ever born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Now he has his own family, with daughter Maliha, born on August 2, 2006, and Rani's first daughter, Jade, born February 25, 2007.

"The River's Edge staff has been busy preparing for this particular baby for the past two years, says Fischer. "It's so rewarding to have made it to this day.

"We are all just overjoyed to have the baby with us," she adds. "We have welcomed a new member in our family."

For the two months before the birth, the Zoo staff was on a 24-hour pregnancy watch. They also monitored her progress with an ultrasound exam and tracked her progesterone every day. When Rani's progesterone dropped two days ago, the Zoo staff knew she would deliver within 1-13 days.

Asian Elephants Are Critically Endangered

The Saint Louis Zoo has been actively involved with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for Asian elephants. "Because Asian elephants are so endangered in the wild, the birth of this elephant is important to the conservation work we do with other North American zoos," says Dr. Jeffrey P. Bonner, Dana Brown President & CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo. "Together AZA-accredited zoos cooperatively manage the breeding of Asian elephants to maintain healthy populations that are as genetically diverse and as demographically stable as possible."

"There's no question that the Asian elephant is facing extinction," Bonner continues. "It's estimated there are only 35,000-50,000 left in wild. Besides working with the AZA Species Survival Plan, our Zoo also supports conservation projects for Asian elephants in Sumatra and supports the efforts of the International Elephant Foundation."

The Saint Louis Zoo has been named America's #1 Zoo by Zagat Survey and Parenting Magazine. One of the few free zoos in the United States, the Saint Louis Zoo is renowned for its natural exhibits, diverse collection of animals and dedication to conserve endangered species and their habitats. The Zoo attracts 3,000,000 visitors each year and is open every day except December 25 and January 1.