Narrating the correlation of elephants as related to their import, groupings, breeding and transfers,
along with other elephant related topics.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Chester Zoo Birth & Death

The Chester Zoo celebrated the birth of a new female Asian elephant and mourned the death of the herd's matriarch within a three week period.

Newborn calf at the Chester Zoo, 02/2011
Photo Courtesy of

New calf
A new calf was born to the Chester Zoo's Asian elephant herd on January 22. The mother was 28 year old Thi Ha Way. Since Thi's arrival from the London Zoo in October 1991, she has given birth to seven calves, three of which are still living. The animal was originally imported from Burma to the Emmen Zoo in June 1988 with a bull and six other cows.

Thi Ha Way at the Chester Zoo, 05/2007
Photo Courtesy of Writhedhornbill, ZooChat

The new born calf was the third sired by 16 year old Upali, though his first calf died at two years of age from the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpes Virus. Upali was captive born at the Zuerich Zoo in November 1994. He was sold to the Chester Zoo less than three years later, as per an agreement with the previous owner of Zoo Zurich's breeding bull Maxi. Upali became the Chester Zoo's only breeding bull after Chang was transferred to a zoo in France in 2005. Chang had previously sired 11 calves in the United Kingdom.

This second birth in twelve months at the Chester Zoo brought the zoo’s herd of Asian elephants to nine. She was the sixteenth elephant born at the zoo in the United Kingdom, seven of which are still alive today.

56 year old Sheba had resided at the Chester Zoo for 46 years, after arriving in 1965 from Tyseley Pet Stores, a United Kingdom animal dealer. The Sri Lankan-born elephant had been suffering shortly from an illness, leading zoo staff to euthanize her on February 9.

Sheba, former matriarch of the Chester Zoo
Photo Courtesy of Christopher Holland

Sheba made history in July 1978 after giving birth to the first and only Asian/African elephant crossbreed. The record-setting animal was named Motty after George Mottershead, founder of the Chester Zoo in 1930. A premature birth and infections caused his death after ten days. The male calf born to an African bull and Asian cow featured traits of both species. A thorough account of the birth and life of this animal can be found at

Motty at Chester Zoo, 1978
Photo Courtesy of

Upali, Asian Male, SB 9407
14 Nov 1994 - Birth, Zuerich Zoo
15 May 1997 - Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
>> Upali at

Thai (Thi Ha Way), Asian Female, SB 8201
1982 - Birth, Burma
Jun 1988 - van der Brink, Netherlands
27 Jun 1988 - Emmen Zoo, Emmen, Netherlands
07 Nov 1988 - Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
13 Dec 1988 - London Zoo, London, United Kingdom
02 Oct 1991 - Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
>> Thi Ha Way at

Jamilah, Asian Female
22 Jan 2011 - Birth, Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
>> Jamilah at

Sheba, Asian Female, SB 5601
1956 - Birth, Sri Lanka
1965 - Tyseley Pet Stores, Tyseley, Birmingham, United Kingdom
13 Feb 1965 - Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
09 Feb 2011 - Death, Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
>> Sheba at

Motty, Male Crossbreed
11 Jul 1978 - Birth, Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom
21 Jul 1978 - Death, Chester Zoo, Chester, United Kingdom

For Additional Information:
>> "Chester Zoo welcomes birth of female elephant calf,", 02/11/2011

>> "Zoo News - Second Baby Elephant,", 01/24/2011

>> "Zoo News - Sheba,", 02/10/2011

>> "Asian Elephant Sheba,"

>> "Elephant Birth - Chester Zoo,"

>> "Upali at Zoo Zurich,"

>> Chester Zoo at

Chester Zoo Elephant Herd
Photo Courtesy of Eveline De Wolf, Chester Zoo

1 comment:

  1. Update 02/24/2011:

    The Chester Zoo's new female calf was named "Jamilah." The moniker was chosen by crime novelist Ruth Rendell, a Chester Zoo supporter and elephant fan. The name means "beautiful."


I eagerly anticipate associating with new individuals with an interest or history in elephants, elephant history and elephant record keeping. If you have further information regarding the animals or locations questioned in the article, please leave a comment or message me in an effort to complete their records for elephant historians.