Zebu Calf Born at Audubon Zoo
Audubon Zoo is hearing the pitter patter of hooves with the new addition of a zebu calf born April 2.
The male calf is the offspring of mom Lulu and dad Ravi. The calf was born weighing just 26 pounds and standing only two feet tall. He was born with a hyper extended carpace (a weaker leg). But under the close watch of Audubon animal care and veterinary staff, the minor issue self-corrected within 24 hours as he moved around and gained more strength in that leg. Animal care staff chose to honor the calf’s Indian heritage by picking the name Aarush (pronounced “Ah-roosh”), meaning “first ray of sun.”
“The calf has been a ray of sunshine during this time,” says Assistant Curator of Animal Ambassadors Lindsay Ezell. “He has provided many smiles through this uncertain time, and I know the team is grateful to see this healthy calf thriving. We thank everyone for their continued support of Audubon, and we are eager to share our new addition with our visitors that we miss so much.”
The breed is one of the planet’s oldest and smallest breed of cow —one that dates to 3000 BCE. Zebu are native to the jungles of Southern India and the island of Sri Lanka. Zebus’ defining feature, aside from their miniature stature, are the humps on their backs, which are fatty deposits. The males have larger humps than females. Zebu are a hearty species of cow and are thriving across Africa because of their ability to withstand extreme heat.
The zebu are part of the Watoto Farm area, which serves as an outdoor classroom to educate visitors about the effect food choices have on the environment. Nearly 50% of all habitable land is now occupied by pasture or farmland, and agriculture is considered a leading cause of pollution due to the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and toxic farm chemicals.
While Audubon facilities are closed, the community can support the dedicated staff who continue to provide outstanding care for the animals and the parks loved by the New Orleans community by donating to the Audubon Recovery Fund
The community can also support Audubon’s work by symbolically “adopting” an Audubon animal. A $25 adopt purchase will provide much-needed revenue to support Audubon’s critical operations while closed due to COVID-19. Adoption purchases come with a printable digital certificate with the name of the adoptive “parent” and make great gifts for kids of all ages. Please note that all adoptable animals may have many adoptive parents, and all adoptable animals remain in their Audubon homes.
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Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.