Elephant Eden taking shape
- Credit: Archant
BUILDING work on Europe’s largest elephant enclosure is well under way at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and is expected to be finished in April.
The zoo’s £1.2million Elephant Eden will provide the largest area and biggest building given to elephants in Europe.
Keeping the creatures in captivity has been widely criticised as zoos often do not provide enough space or stimulation for the intelligent animals and some have become obese due to a poor diet, leading to health problems.
But Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is working to best practices set by the Coalition for Captive Elephant Wellbeing (2005) to ensure the sanctuary provides the best possible home for the endangered creatures.
Owner Anthony Bush said: “We have visited each zoo in the UK which holds elephants during the past five years to help us design Elephant Eden using the best features from other collections.
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“Although Eden will become the largest facility in the country, we’ll also be using enrichment ideas from other zoos to help us provide 24-hour stimulation for our animals, which is really important to keep elephants healthy.
“This is the biggest project in our 14-year history and as a team we’re hugely excited about the potential to improve lives for elephants, whilst providing something totally unique for visitors to experience.”
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The Elephant Eden is 20 acres and will house sand yards, a bathing pool and web cams.
The zoo will also be installing a revolutionary day and night feeding routine to prevent obesity and a planned feeding system to encourage migration, foraging and interaction within the herd. Continued on page 16
Arable crops, woodland and 20 acres of grassland are being planted to provide natural grazing and browsing.
Staff are currently in touch with European zoos about elephants which could join the zoo farm and owners are also looking for a team of experienced keepers to look after the animals.
The zoo is hoping to start with a herd of four elephants - three females and one male - but there is room for up to 10 elephants on site.
The new exhibit includes public viewing areas inside and outside the elephant house and visitor platforms with views of elephants in their fields.
Building work is expected to finish in April and visitors will be able to visit the animals in their new facility in the summer.