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Chester Zoo Jubilee the elephant.

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Pertinax, 10 Jun 2007.

  1. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Jubilee was the first Asian elephant born at Chester Zoo, in 1977- the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee. His father, the Asian bull Nobby, escaped before he was born and ran amok across fields outside the zoo. He was shot dead and is buried in the paddock where the Asian rhino/deer now live.

    Jubilee was the only succesful calf to be born before the arrival of 'Chang' He grew with only his mother Judy, plus a couple of 'Aunties'. As he matured, he seemed not to be very 'bull-like'- lacking tusks or the powerful build of a male elephant. keepers described him as 'not a proper bull' and he also suffered from poor health at times. I don't think that he mated with any of the other Chester females, but am not quite sure on that point.

    He was eventually sent to Belfast Zoo to make space for the new breeding male 'Chang'- it was hoped he would breed there. However, ill health reoccurred and he died without leaving any offspring. I'm wondering whether lack of any contact with another male elephant during his growth period has anything to do with his rather sad story....
     
  2. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Since posting this I've done a little more research and discovered that in fact for the first year or so of Jubilee's life, there WAS another male elephant still at Chester- the African Bull 'Bubbles' who fathered the hybrid calf 'Motty' Bubbles died(euthanased) in 1979 after being pushed into the indoor moat by one of the (Asian) females. But after this Jubilee became the only male at Chester for many years to come, throughout his whole development period in fact. He remained at the zoo for some time after Chang arrived, until he was about 17 years old, but previously had suffered various health problems and was noted for 'poor libido' (Chang began getting females pregnant at around 12.)

    Later, after Jubilee had gone to Belfast, he became very emaciated and I think finally he was euthanased in about 2003.
     
  3. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    If I remember Jubilee had a lot of problems with his teeth. Nobby and Sheba produced a male calf in November 1974 which was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. This was believed to have been the first elephant calf born in Britian. Jubilee was, of course, the first one to be reared.

    In 1963 it was suspected that one of Chester's African elephant females was pregnant. Sadly, a severe outbreak of anthrax put paid to any breeding hopes. She died.

    I was fortunate enough to see Jubilee at four days old on 12th May 1977. By co-incidence I also saw Motty at four days old. Today elephant calves are much less unusual and I don't often bother to go and look.
     
  4. Writhedhornbill

    Writhedhornbill Well-Known Member

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    I love the new Calf Raman!!

    A few Questions:
    1. Why isn't Sheba breeding?
    2. Has Chester ever bred African Elephants?
     
  5. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Chester has never bred African Elephants.Howlett's were the first in Britain to do so in 1982 ( by A.I.) though they've bred them naturally since, as I believe has Colchester.

    I don't know why Sheba does not breed as she has produced two calves previously. Apparently as matriach of the herd she has the job of baby-sitter.
     
  6. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    1.Bongorob- Yes, I've read that Jubilee also had operations to remove impacted(?) tusks so that's the reason he was tuskless. And yes, he was the first successful birth in Uk rather than first birth- I think it was a stillbirth- to the same parents Nobby & Sheba, previously.

    2.Bongorob- Very interested that you saw 'Motty'- I wish I had... I don't suppose you have any photos?- I've only ever seen two of him which were published at the time. (I did see him at the NatHisMus many years ago)

    3. Hornbill- An interesting question. Ask the keepers but my guess is Sheba had a very long birth interval after Jubilee and before Chang was mature- maybe as she was the oldest female she also rebuffed his attempts to mate? He would also have been a lot smaller than her during his growing years, making mating difficult or impossible for even longer. Maybe by the time he was big enough to mate her, then her cycles had stopped?
     
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Howlett's have bred a number of African elephants over the years, in direct contrast to their Asian group at Port Lympne which was dogged with stillbirths and death of calves. Now the Asians at PL have been replaced with Africans from Howletts. Last October a new unrelated bull 'Kruger' arrived at Port Lympne from Knowsley(or West Midlands?) Safari Park so breeding will probably soon commence at PL too.

    Colchester- first calf was by AI (their bull 'Tembo' also fathered a calf in Vienna by AI as well) 2nd calf was from natural mating. Both calves are male. A third female had a stillbirth. I think one or two females are currently again pregnant. Fourth female(Rosa?) has been ill and probably won't ever breed now.
     
  8. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    I have one 'poor' photograph of Motty. It was taken on a very busy Sunday and I had to jostle for a shot. At the moment I have no way of posting it, I don't have a scanner and my brother has just sold his. I intend to get one eventually and I will be glad to post the photo.

    In the meantime you may find this link interesting.

    Welcome to Hybrid Elephant

    The pictures are far better than mine anyway.
     
  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Its funny but I was just looking at that site again yesterday. Those are the only two photos I've seen of 'Motty'. His birth was a truly remarkable event but it seemed to be almost disregarded in scientific circles- perhaps they were too surprised that it could happen.

    In the above postings about Jubilee and Motty I have listed 'Sheba' as Jubilee's mother, of course she was 'Motty's and Judy was Jubilee's (a bit confusing this...). But I think the long interval after Motty's birth when there was no elephant bull at Chester probably had some bearing on the fact that Sheba didn't breed again.
     
  10. Yassa

    Yassa Well-Known Member

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    I agree about Sheba, female elephants usually develop cycsts in the uterus that prevent a pregnancy when they never breed or when the interval between the first calves is too long (10 years or more).

    The first sucessful elephant birth after AI happened in Indianapolis, USA, in 1999, the Howletts births were all through natural breeding.

    Regarding Jubilee - I guess his health problems in his youth are more likely to be the reason for being infertile; there are many breeding bulls who grew up without adult males. However I agree that it is very good for young males (and females too) to grow up in a group with an adult male.
     
  11. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure he was infertile- it was more a case of not showing interest in mating, certainly when he was at Chester, and probably also at Belfast too. The keepers referred to him as 'not a real bull' so there must have been some problem- I don't know if it was health-related or not. All the more recent calves at Chester have been born with a bull present, and with company from at least one other male calf.