Callee will move into his new Omaha home Wednesday, and Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium officials hope that the bull African elephant could soon be a dad.
The Omaha zoo’s African elephant herd is growing by one — to a total of seven — with the addition of Callee, from the Birmingham Zoo.
Zoo Director Dennis Pate stressed Tuesday that it’s urgent for Callee to breed. Three of the zoo’s five female elephants have been “in and out of heat,” he said.
“This isn’t something where we can just be patient with them,” he said. “We need to get these cows bred.”
The zoo added Louie, a male elephant, to its herd in 2017.
Despite Louie’s fertility at the time of his move, Pate said he hasn’t been “up to the task” of breeding.
The zoo decided that Callee was the best option for Omaha in regards to bringing in a new male elephant.
“He’s observed breeding behavior from his dad and understands the social behavior of elephants,” Pate said of Callee. “He understands hierarchy, appears to be fertile ... (and is) three years older than Louie and about a thousand pounds heavier.”
His move to Omaha came under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan. The goal of the plan is to help sustain endangered species’ populations in zoos.
Callee’s new home in Omaha boasts the largest indoor elephant herd space in North America and includes a 150,000-gallon pool. According to the zoo, the indoor and outdoor space for its now seven elephants totals more than five acres.
In September 2017, Warren, a bull elephant, died during a procedure. He had been the lone male in Omaha’s herd until the arrival of Louie in summer 2017.
Warren was part of an import of 17 elephants in 2016 from Swaziland to zoos in Omaha, Wichita and Dallas. When six of those animals arrived in Omaha in March 2016, it ended the zoo’s five-year drought without elephants.
Omaha’s newest elephant was born at the Pittsburgh Zoo. He turns 19 in September and weighs about 8,500 pounds. He has lived at the Birmingham Zoo since moving from Pittsburgh in February 2011.
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The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium introduced a week-old female giraffe on March 23, 2012. The calf was the first born at Omaha's zoo since 2007 but the 29th overall since 1979. Giraffe calves are usually six feet tall and 150 pounds at birth. Within an hour of birth, calves are usually up and nursing.
A vampire bat is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium on Oct. 29, 2013. The zoo teamed up with Iowa State University to find the best food for vampire bats, which each need about 2 tablespoons of blood a day.
An African lion rests at the Henry Doorly Zoo on a hot summer day in July 1971.
Five baby rockhopper penguin chicks were on display at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.
An emperor angelfish swims at the redesigned and newly renovated Scott Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo on March 26, 2012.
Twin white-handed gibbons sit in their mother's lap on Friday, June 10, 2011, in the Henry Doorly Zoo's Lied Jungle. The rare twins were born on April 13, 2011.
Nicole Linafelter feeds a sleepy African lion cub at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Friday, Jan. 4, 2012. The runt of the litter, the cub had been removed from her mother's care, and Linafelter, a veterinary technician, was one of the people caring for the then-week-old cub.
Little Joe, a 450-pound lion, is seen on Aug. 9, 1950. Sold to Omaha Parks and Recreation by Council Bluffs poundmaster Chris Christensen, Little Joe didn't like his cage. He lunged at passers-by, sweeping his paw at the shadows of onlookers.
Incoming first-graders at Bancroft Elementary and zoo day camp students got a sneak peek at the new Zoo Academy and Children's Adventure Trails at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo on June 29, 2017.
Elephants make their public debut at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.
Gail Yanney and Dr. Lee Simmons have their hands full while holding a python at at zoo benefit. Guests took turns petting the python during the Zoofari VII Fundraiser at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo on Sept. 11, 1989.
Black-handed spider monkeys climb in their habitat at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014.
Two red-fronted macaws fly on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the opening of the Holland Meadowlark Amphitheater at the Henry Doorly Zoo. The area will be used for live bird shows, held three times a day and featuring 15 species of birds.
In the Desert Dome, Zachery Torres, a sophomore at Omaha South High School, cleans the glass around the turkey vulture exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.
A klipspringer hangs out in its enclosure at the Henry Doorly Zoo's new African Grasslands exhibit on Friday, May 27, 2016.
Spider monkeys rest in the lagoon area at the Henry Doorly Zoo's new African Grasslands exhibit on Friday, May 27, 2016.
A group of female impala are seen at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
Lions Johnny and Sandy are seen on Aug. 12, 1965. The lions were featured in the Zoo's Who that year.
An Amur tiger cub shows the start of his fangs on Aug. 18, 2016, at the Henry Doorly Zoo. The cubs were vaccinated and chipped during their debut that morning.
A pair of vampire bats are seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium on Oct. 29, 2013. The zoo teamed up with Iowa State University to find the best food for vampire bats, which each need about 2 tablespoons of blood a day.
Mfisha nuzzles one of her baby lion cubs at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Friday, March 29, 2013.
W.W. Laird says a final goodbye to a pair of lion cubs on Sept. 21, 1967. When the Clyde Brothers Circus came to Hastings, W.W. Laird, a friend of circus man Howarad Suesz, noticed a sick lion. She took it to the vet, but the animal died. Suesz asked Laird to take the 5-week-old lion cubs, Freckles and Speckles, to make sure they didn't get sick. The cubs became too large to be in the Lairds' home, so Laird donated the cats, then 4 1/2 months old, to the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Nicole Linafelter holds a sleepy African lion cub at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Friday, Jan. 4, 2012. The runt of the litter, the cub had been removed from her mother's care, and Linafelter, a veterinary technician, was one of the people caring for the then-week-old cub.
A male African lion is seen at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
A klipspringer calf roams its new home at the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium's Desert Dome on Monday, March 25, 2013.
A white-handed gibbon baby peeks out at its surroundings while its mom swings along at the Lied Jungle at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Oct. 24, 2003. The baby was born Sunday, October 5. Gibbons, the smallest of the apes, live in small family groups consisting of the mated pair and their immature offspring.
Zoo visitors crowd around an exhibit to see a baby gorilla at the Henry Doorly Zoo in 1996.
Sepilok, a Bornean orangutan, holds her baby at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014.
Swans swim through the steam rising off their heated pond at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Dec. 15, 2009.
A lined day gecko sits on a branch in the new Madagascar exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo on April 29, 2010.
A female Amur tiger cub, born June 22, 2010, is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Aug. 20, 2010.
A baby male Francois langur, born August 11, 2010, is seen on Oct. 15, 2010, at the Henry Doorly Zoo.
Matt Simon holds up his 2-year-old son, Simon, to get a better view of Wgasa, a Bornean orangutan, as he enjoys a Valentine's Day treat at the Henry Doorly Zoo Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. Zoo employees put treats out for the animals, including heart-shaped frozen Kool-Aid.
Fish swim at the redesigned and newly renovated Scott Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo on March 26, 2012.
When Penelope, a pink Yorkshire hog, takes a dip in the water tank at the Henry Doorly Zoo, there's no doubt that the other animals have to wait their turn. Watching an impatient Rasputin the goat are Mr. and Mrs. Jeome Paulsen and their 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Jennifer, in August of 1969.
West Coast sea nettles float in the water at the new Ocean Drifters exhibit, which features five species of jellyfish, at the redesigned and newly renovated Scott Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo on March 26, 2012.
Penguins jump in and out of the water at the redesigned and newly renovated Scott Aquarium at the Henry Doorly Zoo on March 26, 2012.
Preston, an Amur leopard, shows his fangs while in his exhibit at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Oct. 19, 2012.
A female Amur tiger, born June 22, 2010, tries to sneak up on her mother Tiksi at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Aug. 20, 2010.
A pygmy hippopotamus calf, born Feb. 22, 2013, is seen with its mother in the Lied Jungle at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Thursday April 18, 2013.
A fossa pup does target training with Ryan Sears, supervisor at Expedition Madagascar, at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Thursday April 25, 2013.
Chimps Tamba, left, and Pedro are seen at the zoo in 1959. Pedro was purchased from the Detroit Zoo as a mate for Tamba in 1958. The mischievous chimps got on well; the two were known to break into cages and let the other monkeys out.
A mountain chicken frog is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
A young gray tree frog, native to Omaha, is shown at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
An adult male South African bullfrog is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013.
Casey the gorilla is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo in 1974.
Macaws perch on branches after feeding on Jan. 29, 2011, as thousands of people took advantage of the Henry Doorly Zoo's Community Free Day.
Sam the giraffe is seen at the Henry Doorly Zoo on July 29, 2008.
A female sea lion touches noses with a pup in the Sea Lion Pavilion at the Henry Doorly Zoo on Thursday, July 2, 2015. Two sea lion pups were born June 6 and June 8.
Dr. Lee Simmons and zoo workers unload a crate holding one of the new tigers brought to the Henry Doorly Zoo for the white tiger breeding program in August of 1978.
A meerkat is seen at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
Two western diamond-backed rattlesnakes are seen inside Rattlesnake Canyon, a $125,000 new addition inside the Desert Dome, on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. Rattlesnake Canyon is the home of 13 animals, including eight species of lizards and two species of snakes.