By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium is trumpeting some very “big” news.

One of their elephants, 21-year-old Seeni, is pregnant.

Elephant program manager Willie Theison says the calf is due in June or July.

“That’s going to be our biggest concern, to see that we have a nice healthy calf. The second part of that will be to see that mom bonds well with the baby,” Theison said. “With Seeni, we have a little bit of a difficult situation with her first calf that she had, she rejected. So we’re going to have to pay special attention to that, to see that we create a really good bond between mom and the baby. And the next phase would be to introduce the baby and the mom to the other members of the herd that are out there.”

Seeni and two other rare Botswana females are currently housed at the state-of-the-art maternal care center at the International Conservation Center in Somerset County.

There’s plenty of space: 34,000 square feet.

“We’ve got eight stalls,” Theison says. “We’ve got this enormous indoor arena that really comes in handy during the cooler weather, where the elephants can exercise and run around, and do what elephants do best.”

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The females were bred by a bull elephant named Jackson, who hasn’t been invited to the party.

Nevertheless, Theison gives him high praise for his part, “A very exciting time. Very exciting time. Scary, but exciting.”

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