Five years of elephants: Omaha zoo announces calf expected next year
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium is celebrating the fifth anniversary of its main elephant herd’s arrival with an announcement that it’s growing — by one.
Dennis Pate, zoo president and CEO, announced Thursday morning that hormone work with the elephants has paid off, and one of the African elephants, Claire, is expecting.
She is about halfway through the pregnancy and due around this time next year, Pate said. Zoo workers have been able to see some toes on an ultrasound, he said.
Callee, the father, was a welcome addition to the herd, Pate said, with all the female elephants taking an interest in him, and vice versa. With this pregnancy, Callee “is now a proven breeder,” Pate said.
Sarah Armstrong, elephant manager at the zoo, also talked about some of the behaviors staff have observed in the elephants over the years.
On March 11, 2016, 17 elephants arrived in the U.S. from the southern African country of Swaziland “as part of an ongoing rescue mission” after a complex and intricate logistical undertaking by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to a release from the zoo. The relocation sought to protect the animals from suffering during a terrible drought in their homeland.
Five females and one male were brought to Omaha; six elephants were taken to Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas, and five were taken to the Dallas Zoo, according to the Omaha zoo release.
The public were able to see the Omaha elephants on April 6, 2016, just ahead of the grand opening of the zoo’s African Grasslands exhibit, “a $73 million project that spans 28 acres,” on Memorial Day weekend that year. The exhibit also features the largest “herd room” for elephants in North America as well as extensive grasses, acacia-like trees, and kopjes.
A 17-year-old bull elephant, Louie, was added to the Omaha herd after his transfer from the Toledo Zoo in Ohio on June 23, 2017. Another bull, Calle, was added from the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama on May 29, 2019.
Watch Thursday’s news conference
This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.
Copyright 2021 WOWT. All rights reserved.