enriched life for zoo elephants
Explore our 20 acre paradise for elephants - welcome to Elephant Eden
Elephant Eden was officially opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on Thursday 17th December 2015. We were honoured to show HRH the facilities at Elephant Eden including a private tour and a chance to watch one of the elephant training sessions. We are delighted with her interest in the important work we are doing for elephants.
Elephant Eden has been running as a project since 2014 and is home to two African elephants called Janu and M'Changa.
Janu, an adorable 10 year old African bull elephant from Port Lympne Reserve in Kent, arrived in early September 2014 and has settled in well. 'Janu' means "life force"; a very apt name for the little bull who has lots of character and energy.
M'Changa is a lively 7 year old African bull elephant from Boras Zoo in Sweden. M'Changa arrived at Noah's Ark in November 2014 after a long journey. He is young and playful and has also settled in really well to life at Elephant Eden.
Our first elephant to arrive at Elephant Eden was Buta, a 30 year old female African elephant who joined us in February 2014 on loan from Knowsley Safari near Liverpool. She made Elephant Eden her own and became a maternal figure to both Janu and M'Changa .
Buta sadly passed away suddenly on Monday 11th May 2015. The official post-mortem findings are consistent with acute heart failure. There was no indication that Buta's death could have been prevented. She will be sadly missed by the Elephant Team and all the staff and visitors.
We are currently in discussion with a number of European zoos to consider further elephants that would be best served relocating them to our modern facility as we now begin establishing the herd.
Our long-term plan is to build a healthy, socially interacting and sustainable herd which can express as much natural behaviour as possible. This core social unit is fundamental to the project and is key to meeting the complex social and behavioural needs of African elephants.
Elephant Eden gives our elephants access to a vast, enriched environment managed by a new team of experienced Keepers. Our Head Elephant Keeper has over 12 years direct experience working with elephants in Europe and the US and we are being advised by experts in elephant care.
Eden has been described as a 'Five Star destination for elephants' by well-known international elephant management consultant Alan Roocroft.
The fields and barn are state-of-the-art, with specialised computer-controlled winches for automated nightime feeding, a swimming pool, hot and cold showers, 6 deep sand yards and central heating system giving added luxury for our elephants. 14 automatic doors and 16 manually controlled ones are in place, along with six 16 tonne breaking-strain electrified cables which mark the large 20 acre boundary.
Visitors can learn all about the elephants and this unique new habitat at the daily Keeper Talk at 1.30pm at Elephant Eden.
We run keeper experiences we the elephants, see our Keeper Experience page for more information.
We welcome you to explore our plans for elephants using the links on the left of this page, and consider how you can help support our efforts.
Europe's largest elephant sanctuary
Elephants are of crucial conservation status as wild populations suffer from habitat loss and poaching. By seeing healthy elephants in zoos, visitors can gain important knowledge of these highly specialised mammals, understand their unique needs and choose to contribute to conservation efforts.
With the 20 acre (80,000 sq meters) grazing environment and a modern, heated elephant house three times bigger than minimum zoo requirements; Elephant Eden is a sanctuary of international importance.
This project is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas for the development of Elephant Eden.