Oregon Zoo's newest resident is 300 pounds of energy
At more than 300 pounds, Lily, the newborn Asian elephant at the Oregon Zoo, has been attracting crowds for days at the Oregon Zoo, as spectators hope to catch a glimpse of her short trunk and gangly legs.
But one Tigard woman got a first-hand look at the great dane-sized baby elephant on Friday, before the big crowds were allowed inside.
Lisa Finster won an online competition naming the exact date and time the young Lily would be born.
I saw it on Facebook, and thought, Why not? Finster said outside the elephant enclosure. A sign on the enclosures front door read, Pachyderm pending.
No one not even the elephant keepers knew when the baby would arrive.
Elephants, with their 22-month gestation, can give birth anytime within a two-month window.
Keepers slept at the zoo for weeks as they waited for the youngster to arrive.
Finsters prediction of Nov. 28 at 2:45 a.m. was within 26 minutes.
You were right on, elephant curator Bob Lee joked with Finster on Friday. I wish you would have called me. You could have saved me a lot of sleepless nights.
Finsters secret for elephant success was simple, she said.
I figured everyone would want to be asleep, Finster said, strolling through the Oregon Zoo in Portland. Thats when it would happen.
In truth, Finster said, it was just a lucky guess.
For awhile I forgot what day I put down. I thought I was way off, and then I got an email saying that I won, she said.
Finster, who grew up in Aloha, has spent her life visiting the Oregon Zoo.
This is my zoo, she said proudly. Ive been coming here for as long as I can remember.
As a teenager, she volunteered as a ZooTeen, working with the reptile exhibits.
Ive watched this place grow and develop, Finster said.
Lily, oblivious to Finster or the other people watching, rolled around in sawdust and attempted to pick up a large branch with her trunk.
Shes precious, Finster said, taking dozens of photos on her iPhone. Shes absolutely adorable.
Standing near her, Lee smiled, too.
She stood up as soon as she came out, and she hasnt stopped moving since, he said. She couldnt have waited 20 more minutes, or you would have been right on the nose.
Finster plans to return to the zoo in a few weeks when family comes to visit. She cant wait to see the zoos new elephant enclosure, known as Elephant Lands.
The new, expanded elephant habitat will double the elephant enclosure.
Construction is expected to start at the beginning of next year, with a tentative opening date of September 2014.
Do you have a date on when thats going to open, too? Lee joked with Finster. That would be great.
Lily and Rose-Tu are currently on display at the zoos indoor viewing area of the Asian elephant exhibit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.