Zoo farm 'distraught' after death of elephant


M'Changa. - Credit: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

An elephant from a zoo farm in North Somerset has died after an incident with another bull elephant at the attraction.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, in Wraxall, announced the death of M'Changa today (Tuesday) and has launched an investigation into the incident.

In the early hours of Friday morning, another bull elephant went into the area where M'Changa was sleeping and an attack ensued, leaving M'Changa with fatal injuries. The zoo farm was closed to the public at the time.

A full review is now in progress and will consider the best way forward for the elephant programme at Noah's Ark. The elephant keepers are 'distraught' and are being supported by staff.

The bull elephant group has 24-hour access to all areas of their enclosure. As they are social animals, they are housed together as an important part of their welfare. The other bull elephants - Shaka and Janu are unharmed.

More: Princess Royal opens elephant eden.

Larry Bush, managing director of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, said: “The Noah’s Ark team are incredibly passionate about all the animals at the zoo and M’Changa’s loss will be felt very deeply.

"He will be missed dearly by all staff as well as our members and visitors. We will continue to help promote and contribute to the conservation of elephants into the future.” 

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The facility, Elephant Eden, has been previously commended on its best practice with specialist elephant keepers, 20 acres of space to roam and extensive enrichment activities.

M’Changa, aged 12, arrived at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in 2014 from Boras Zoo, in Sweden and become an integral part of the male bachelor group of elephants. The three elephants had lived together for three years.

More: Elephant arrives in ark's eden.

A spokesman for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums said it was sad to hear of the loss of M'Changa.

They said: “Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has one of the largest elephant facilities in the UK and Europe. The bachelor elephant group at Noah’s Ark plays a key supporting role serving wider African Elephant conservation efforts as an important part of the European Endangered Species Programme. Our thoughts are with the dedicated elephant care staff at Noah’s Ark.”

Research into bachelor elephant behaviour in the wild has shown that male elephants leave their family herd in adolescence and form a bachelor group, which helps them learn social skills and new behaviours. Their behaviour is often active and boisterous and can sometimes be aggressive

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