KOTA KINABALU: The only Borneo pygmy elephant in a North American zoo is pregnant.
According to the Oregon Zoo online portal, the 26-year-old elephant named Chendra, which was donated by Sabah in 1999, is expecting her calf in 2020.
The report stated that Chendra might have conceived in January this year based on her pregnancy status.
Her caretakers are not exactly sure which of the male elephants successfully brought about the pregnancy. However, they are certain the male is one of the two Siamese (Thailand) elephants in the zoo.
Sabah Wildlife Department assistant director Dr Sen Nathan was elated by the news, according to the report.
He said they had been waiting for a long time to see Chendra, an orphan rescued from a plantation in Tawau decades ago, start a family of her own.
He added that it was heartwarming to see Chendra now able to "live a complete life".
He said the calf would be known as Asian elephant when it was born.
During her rescue, Chendra was found with wounds in her legs and left eye, which left her blind on that side.
While some people questioned the rationale for keeping animals in zoos instead of the wild, Dr Sen said in some circumstances the wild was more dangerous for endangered species.
He said zoos played a part in protecting them.
There are about 1, 500 pygmy elephants left in Sabah.