Uthai, a Thai elephant gifted to the Ueno Zoo, is pregnant. It’s the first pregnancy of an Asian elephant at the Tokyo zoo since 1882, when it opened.
Uthai, 18, is due to give birth in June or July. It will be the 10th birth of an Asian elephant ever in Japan, reported Bangkok Post.
The elephant was born in 1998 in Thailand and was given as a gift to Japan, alongside a male elephant called Artid, in 2002. The gift was in honor of Princess Aiko, the first baby of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako.
The male elephant Artid, now 19, is the father. Asian elephants carry a baby for 21 or 22 months before delivering.
This is a much happier story than that of Hanako, another Thai elephant gifted to Japan, who was kept in captivity her whole life and recently died at 69. She was dubbed “the loneliest elephant in the world.”