Breed(African elephant-Asian elephant hybrid)
Born(1978-07-11)11 July 1978
Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England
Died21 July 1978(1978-07-21) (aged 0)
Chester Zoo, Cheshire, England
Parent(s)Jumbolino (father)
Sheba (mother)
Named afterGeorge Mottershead

Motty (11 July – 21 July 1978) was the only proven hybrid between an Asian and an African elephant. The male calf was born in Chester Zoo, to Asian mother Sheba and African father Jumbolino.[1] He was named after George Mottershead, who founded the Chester Zoo in 1931.


The calf's cheek, ears (long with pointed lobes) and legs (longer and slimmer) were of the African type, while nail numbers (5 front, 4 hind) and the single trunk finger were Asian. The wrinkled trunk was like an African elephant. The forehead was sloping with one dome and two smaller domes behind it. The body was African in type, but had an Asian-type centre hump and an African-type rear hump.

Cause of death[edit]

Despite intensive human care, Motty died of an umbilical infection[2] 10 days after his birth on 21 July. The necropsy revealed death to be due to necrotizing enterocolitis and E. coli septicaemia. His body is preserved as a mounted specimen at the Natural History Museum, London.

Other hybrids[edit]

There are unconfirmed rumours of three other hybrid elephants born in zoos or circuses; all are said to have been deformed and did not survive.[citation needed]

The straight-tusked elephant, an extinct elephant whose closest extant relative is the African forest elephant, interbred with the Asian elephant, as recovered DNA has shown.[3]


Elephant hybrid
Scientific classificationEdit this classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Proboscidea
Family: Elephantidae
Subfamily: Elephantinae
Hybrid: Loxodonta africana♂ × Elephas maximus

Although the Asian elephant Elephas maximus and the African elephant Loxodonta africana belong to different genera, they share the same number of chromosomes, thus making hybridisation, at least in this respect, theoretically possible.


  1. ^ "Motty, an asian elephant x african bush elephant (cross-breed) at Chester Zoo". Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Motty the elephant crossbreed". Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  3. ^ Callaway, E. (2016-09-16). "Elephant history rewritten by ancient genomes". Nature. doi:10.1038/nature.2016.20622. S2CID 89500906.

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