It has been an absolutely incredible 12 months for us here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, and we are so thrilled to be able to celebrate the one year anniversary of launching our Elephant Eden enclosure for Buta, Janu, M’Changa – our herd of African elephants.
The time has flown by, but it was only last year when we opened the doors to Elephant Eden – a 20 acre site for our elephants to play and frolic in – and when we first opened our hearts to Buta, our 30 year-old female African elephant. She joined us at the same time the Eden opened (February 2014) and became the first elephant to join the Noah’s Ark family, followed by Janu and M’Changa – making for a very busy 2014!
The Elephant Eden enclosure has been designed by ourselves to be pure paradise for our elephants – it is rich with vegetation and has a diverse range of features, including a swimming pool for the elephants to have a splash around in, hot and cold showers for when they want to freshen up, six deep sand yards (in case they want to build a castle!) as well as central heating. All these features mean Buta, Janu, M’Changa live a pretty luxurious lifestyle – we’re actually a bit jealous!
There are, of course, also numerous state-of-the-art safety features in place, meaning our visitors and keepers can observe the herd and interact with them without worry. The features in place include computer controlled winches for feeding times, 14 automatic doors and 16 manual ones, and six 16-tonne breaking-strain electrified cables installed all around the enclosure.
With such an impressive enclosure and features in place, we are actually in talks with various Zoos from across the UK and Europe about acquiring more elephants to make our Eden their new home – we would love to expand the herd. After having grown so much in the last 12 months, we are keen to focus on creating a sustainable herd that represents one you might find in the wild as much as possible.
In fact, what some people fail to realise is that there is a lot of complicated social and behavioural patterns in African elephant herds. There has been a lot scrutiny about keeping elephants in captivity, as historically some elephants have had shorter lifespans in zoos than those in the wild. As mentioned on our website, however, the Elephant Eden has been specifically designed to provide not only a decent living environment, but a thriving social life for the animals, too. We’ve even had our facilities described as a “five-star destination for elephants” by leading elephant expert Alan Roocroft. We hope new facilities like ours will mean elephants can live happily for much longer.
We’re also very keen on keeping up with conservation practices and hope our Elephant Eden facility will help with elephant conservation in the long term.
It was actually precisely a year ago on Friday 20th Feb that our female Buta arrived and the Elephant Presentation at 1:30pm on this day will include a little mention of the anniversary and a full update on the elephants themselves. Why not pop over for a visit, spend some time with the herd and see Elephant Eden for yourself? You can even try your hand at being an elephant keeper for the day and see how these animals live on a day-to-day basis.