Opal at Colchester Zoo

ID Number:EEP Number: 8312 - 
Species: African Bush elephant
Sex and age:Female 35 years
Management:Free contact
Location:Colchester Zoo
ArrivedColchester Zoo 1998-02-28
from Mary Chipperfield
Mary Chipperfield
from Longleat Safari Park
Longleat Safari Park 1985-00-00
Born:1982 wild Zimbabwe
Capture: 1985
Offspring and year of birth:
  1. () 2010-02-24 stillborn
Document updated2009-01-29: Pregnant, Management
2009-01-30: Text
2012-01-08: not pregnant
1998-02-28: Opal was sold to Colchester by Mary Chipperfield.

Opal the elephant became pregnant by fellow herd-member Tembo at Colchester Zoo through artificial insemination and is expected to give birth in the spring of next year. Over the last 10 years bull elephant Tembo has fathered four young of whom two were born at Colchester, Kito and Jambo.
Tembos other calves born through artificial insemination were Abu, who was born in April 2001 in Vienna, and Thabo-Umasai, who was born at Dresden Zoo in February 2006.

Opal the Elephant is Pregnant, 01/27/2009

It turned out to be a case of “Whos the (big) daddy?”
Because today it emerged that an elephant credited with siring a yet-to-be-born calf had nothing to do with the pregnancy.
Yesterday Colchester Zoo announced that Opal, a cow elephant at the Stanway attraction, had become pregnant thanks to its bull elephant Tembo.
Tembo, who has been at the zoo with Opal for 10 years, is already a father of four - Kito, Jambo, Abu and Thabo-Umasi.
But it transpires that when Opal was artificially inseminated recently, it was not Tembo who was the donor.
Instead, the father will be a bull elephant called Jack, who lives in the West Midlands.
The zoo issued a correction this morning.

Elephant Paternity Mix-Up at Zoo, 01/30/2009

2010-03-04: Thomas Hildebrandt, from the Leibniz Institute commented that, “based on our intensive discussions with Colchester Zoo, it is very likely that the full-term calf in the African elephant Opal died during the birthing process.

Sources, among others

  • Jelle Boef
  • African Elephant Studbook, Europe Regional EEP
    by Amelia Terkel, Zoological center Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Israel

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