‘Big Brother’ for Elephants
13th February 2012
Educational schools trips and days out in Bristol will become more insightful thanks to ‘Big Brother’ technology at Europe’s largest elephant enclosure. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will deliver the best possible care to thousands of elephants in captivity by closely monitoring a herd of Asian elephants with extensive CCTV. The Bristol zoo, located in Wraxall, will set up webcams in a spectacular £1.2 million elephant enclosure to constantly record the elephants’ routines. Researchers can then closely study the footage to determine best practice for elephants in captivity including tending to their health and managing social interactions.
The results will be studied by academics and published, before being circulated to zoos and welfare charities in Europe. Zoo owner Anthony Bush said: “Elephant Eden will be a new chapter in the history of elephant accommodation. It will be a destination of paradise for these wonderful creatures to ensure that elephants born into captivity receive a far better way of life.” “But in order that we can better understand their needs for future generations, we must ensure that we better understand their behaviour.” He added: “We’re aware of the issues surrounding captive elephants, however Noah’s Ark has spent several years researching all aspects of elephant care, enclosure and house designs.” “We’ve listened to the experiences of elephant keepers across the UK and have sought husbandry and design advice from experts at Dublin Zoo.” Elephant Eden is the world’s first “five-star hotel for elephants” and includes a large indoor swimming pool, around the clock medical care and home grown organic food.
The 80,000 square-metre complex will become Europe’s largest elephant enclosure when it opens. Planning permission was granted for Elephant Eden by North Somerset County Council in May 2010. But Mr Bush stressed that the unique project could only go ahead if the donation target of £1 million was reached in the next seven months. He said: “Elephant Eden will become a sanctuary of international importance, and with the support of the public we look forward to improving conditions for these incredible creatures.” Noak’s Ark Zoo Farm opened in 1998 and is the home of the big zoo animals with 100 species including giraffes, rhinos, tigers, lions and camels.