UKs largest elephant habitat praised for reaching ‘new heights’ by international expert
Welfare and development at our ‘Elephant Eden’ commended in new Report
Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has been praised for the success of our ‘Elephant Eden’ programme in a new report by world-renown elephant management consultant Alan Roocroft.
The largest elephant habitat in northern Europe, our Elephant Eden offers 20 acres of enrichment for African elephants. We opened it in February 2014 with the arrival of our first resident elephant, Buta.
A year since the arrival of elephants to the project, the Report identifies Elephant Eden as a “state of the art habitat… positioning itself as an example of future elephant care in the UK and possibly Europe”
Offering progressive welfare and husbandry advances for elephants, our programme was designed to give elephants already living in man-made environments the best care possible.
Designed and built in consultation with US-based Alan Roocroft, adviser to over 40 zoos worldwide with 50 years experience working with elephants; we invested over £2 million to create a specialised heated elephant house and extensive field environments, focused on enriching the daily life of each elephant.
The first design in the UK to include full sand yards indoors and outside to promote foot health rather than traditional concrete floors, Elephant Eden incorporates a range of improvements to benefit the physical and emotional health of the elephants. Hot and cold showers, renewable biomass heating to warm the barn and 24 hour CCTV for behavioural recording also feature in the modern development.
In his Report from March 2015 following his most recent visit, Mr Roocroft commended Noah’s Ark and our team of elephant Keepers lead by Sandra de Rek for the growth of the project and the health and training of each of the three elephants currently living at the park.
From his evaluation in the Report, Mr Roocroft commented:
“Noah’s Ark have clearly committed to the long journey of keeping elephants in a zoo environment. The financial resources and personal desire have been in abundance to help establish a state of the art elephant habitat, both for the credibility of the zoo, but equally for the credibility of elephant management in the UK, which has at some level has been lacking in recent times.
On behalf of Noah’s Ark this desire is commendable and has wider implications in terms of the greater good of elephant management within Europe as an example of excellent care.
Further, I feel the elephant programme is positioning itself as an example of future elephant care in the UK and possibly Europe. We are seeing trends of welfare in a small number of zoos over the world that far exceed the BIAZA, EAZA & AZA suggested standards and Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm clearly have the drive and the passion to bring the level of elephant care to new heights in the UK. I am very proud to be a part of that movement.”
Since the arrival of female African elephant Buta in February 2014, we have successfully introduced two young males, Janu and M’Changa creating a small stable social group. It is hoped the park will introduce further elephants to create a sustainable future herd with the structure for successful breeding.
Education is an important part of the project and we offer visitors a chance to watch the daily Elephant Presentation, an informative talk and practical demonstration given by the elephant Keepers. Depending on the day, visitors can see the Keepers carry out important husbandry and training techniques, the elephants having freedom of choice to take part or not – a fundamental freedom for the animals which underpins the project.
To read more about our elephants, see here on our website
We’re open Monday – Saturday if you’d like to come and see them in the flesh and speak to our Keepers. Tickets can be purchased online or at our gate.