African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) at
Colchester Zoo in United Kingdom

♀ Opal


EEP nr8312


Species:African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 41 years old
Management:Free contact
Born:* 1982 wild
Birth place: in Africa unspecified location
Capture: 1985
Total: 1 babies

1. Born 2010-02-24
(dead † 2010-02-24)
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Colchester Zoo, in United Kingdom

Date of arrival

1998-02-28Colchester Zoo
from Mary Chipperfield’s Circus

Mary Chipperfield’s Circus
from Longleat Safari Park

Record history
History of updates2009-01-29: Pregnant, Management

2009-01-30: Text

2012-01-08: not pregnant
2018-03-14: link to Elefanten-Fotolexikon (Petra Prager) submitted

Latest document update2020-10-18 06:25:24
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Opal is a living Female ♀ African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) , located at the Colchester Zoo, in United Kingdom.

Opal arrived in 1998-02-28 to the Colchester Zoo, relocated from the Mary Chipperfield’s Circus, in United Kingdom.

Opal lives together with 3 other elephants at the Colchester Zoo:
  1. Tanya born 1981
  2. Tembo born 1983
  3. Zola born 1982

detailed list with arrival dates etc.


  1. () 2010-02-24 -- † 2010-02-24 stillborn


Opal was born wild 1982 at Africa unspecified location, captured 1985 .

Comments / pictures

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.

Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2023). Opal, African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) located at Colchester Zoo in United Kingdom. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 9 December 2023 at https://www.elephant.se/database2.php?elephant_id=3253. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

  • Jelle Boef

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Categories1982 births | Born in Zimbabwe | Breeding cows | 1985 captures | Elephants from Colchester Zoo | United Kingdom | African savanna elephants

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