Second elephant joins growing herd at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
We are thrilled to welcome our second elephant to Elephant Eden at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm! Gorgeous girl Buta now has a new companion, our latest arrival - nine-year-old African bull elephant Janu who has come to us from Port Lympne Reserve in Kent.
The lively young elephant is on loan to us from the Kent park and is the first of two males to join us from the centre. Janu’s arrival sets the second phase of our ground-breaking Elephant Eden project in motion as we begin developing a sustainable herd which will provide for the complex social needs of each elephant within it. Our £2 million state-of-the-art Elephant Eden habitat got off its feet in February when we took on beautiful Buta from Knowsley Safari in Liverpool.
Eden is currently welcoming African elephants, offering some important welfare advances for elephants already living in captivity in this specially designed new environment. At 20 acres, Eden provides ample space for our elephants to roam – as well as being the biggest elephant habitat in northern Europe. Janu – on loan to Noah’s Ark – will soon be followed by Kruger, Port Lympne Reserve's remaining mature bull elephant who is owned by Knowsley Safari and is known to Buta, again as part of a loan arrangement. The elephants have been moved with their welfare as the priority for all parties involved.
Port Lympne Reserve (run in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation, a conservation-led charity which also manages Howletts Wild Animal Park), has over 20 years experience managing the needs of African elephants and their expert keepers have been a huge help to Noah’s Ark in recent months. Janu and Kruger will have an enriched, healthy environment to enjoy, with everything from extensive grazing areas, mud wallows and sand yards on offer. Noah’s Ark’s Elephant Eden also includes a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly heated elephant barn and enables elephants to roam naturally across sizeable fields.
Our expert Head Elephant Keeper Sandra de Rek keeps her watchful eye on our elephants. She brought more than 12 years experience to the role and has spoken of her pride in the project. She said: “I’m really proud of what we are achieving here at Noah’s Ark, particularly how well Buta has settled in and now we are excited to welcome Janu, our first bull, and introduce him to his new home. “Establishing a good social unit with elephants is very important and this is a crucial time. We are all working very hard to do this right and ensure the best of care is given to each of our elephants as they arrive and get used to their new surroundings.” Our new elephants all receive modern Protected Contact (PC) training which maximises welfare benefits for elephant and keeper. This positive, reward-based method involves interacting with elephants through a training wall.
Buta has been thriving in her new surrounds at Elephant Eden at Noah's Ark[/caption] Expert elephant consultant Alan Roocroft has been involved in every step of the design and development of Eden. In a recent report Mr Roocroft praised the care Buta has received in the past six months living at Noah’s Ark, saying: “Summing Buta’s health up, one can only use the word fabulous. She has in all directions developed, the husbandry detailing that Sandra and the team are instituting has really brought out the best in her physically and mentally.” We think Eden heralds in a new dawn for elephant keeping, making the lives of these elephants more stimulating, rewarding and helping express as much natural behaviour as possible.
Just like Buta, we’re giving Janu some time to settle into the elephant barn before the public can come in and meet him. Buta and Janu will be kept separate initially while they adjust to the sight and smell of each other. Our indoor viewing gallery will be closed on Thursday allowing him to get used to his new surroundings, but visitors may get a chance to see Janu from outside if he is exploring the private sand yard. Once he has settled in, visitors will be able to see him inside the elephant barn and bring children along for a great day out in Bristol.
We’re expecting to reopen the elephant house on Friday. For more information about Elephant Eden and when Janu will be on public display please visit the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm website or call 01275 852606.