Baby elephant born at the Houston Zoo survives emergency surgery

Little baby Nelson with mother, Shanti. By Leah Asmelash, CNN

(CNN) -- It's a boy!

Nelson, a healthy baby Asian elephant, was born at the Houston Zoo earlier this week, surviving an emergency surgery after his mom experienced complications during the labor.

Immediately after the baby elephant came into the world, he began hemorrhaging from his umbilicus. Zoo staff said they realized he had torn a vessel in his umbilical cord during birth, and rushed him into surgery.

No need to worry, though. The surgery went well, and little Nelson was reunited with his mother, Shanti, shortly after.

Before the day was even over, Nelson, who weighs 326 pounds, was nursing like normal.

"We are extremely proud of our dedicated, skilled and experienced elephant and veterinary teams who were thoroughly organized and ready to respond to whatever our new calf needed," said Lisa Marie Avendano, vice president of animal operations at the Houston Zoo, in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to watch Nelson and Shanti bond and introducing him to Houston."

Shanti, a 29-year-old Asian elephant, now has six kids, including Nelson. The zoo said the baby is expected to make a full recovery.

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