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Ground breaks on Asian elephant project

Blackpool Zoo has this week broken ground on its most ambitious and biggest ever single project to date, which will launch as part of next year’s 45th anniversary celebrations.

The multi-million pound scheme, entitled Project Elephant, will see one of the UK’s largest indoor elephant facilities being built on vacant land at the zoo, opening up an additional three acres to visitors.

Management and keepers are working very closely with the Asian Elephant European Endangered Species Program (EEP) to secure the future of this magnificent mammal at Blackpool Zoo.

The indoor facility, which has been specially designed around the complex welfare needs of the mammoth species, will feature a raised viewing platform, meaning visitors can come face to face with the impressive residents.

Externally, the public will enjoy unobstructed views of the elephants in their huge paddock, which will include a sanded area complete with bathing pool and a landscaped grass field.

The entrance to the new elephant facility will be located next to the Dinosaur Safari, which is also being revamped as part of the project. In addition there will be a new Asian-themed food outlet.

Darren Webster, Blackpool Zoo’s Director, will oversee the entire project with his team of expert keepers. In the past decade, he has successfully transformed huge areas of the 32-acre site with developments including Orangutan Outlook, the Active Oceans Arena, Children’s Farm, Giraffe Heights and Wolf Ridge.

He said: “This is an incredibly exciting moment in Blackpool Zoo’s history. It is the latest, and the largest, in a series of significant investments at the zoo, which have attracted millions of visitors in the past decade. Asian elephants are endangered in the wild and are probably the most iconic zoo species across the world. This project, which has been in the planning pipeline for five years, means we will successfully house these beautiful animals for years to come and everyone is extremely excited. The preparation and research has been thorough and breaking ground this week was a monumental step in Blackpool Zoo’s ongoing success story. My team of excellent zoo keepers will now assist me in my discussions with the Asian Elephant European Endangered Species Program (EEP) to secure the future of this magnificent species at Blackpool Zoo.”

The project underpins the zoo’s ongoing commitment to the endangered Asian Elephant. It is a long-term supporter of the Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) in Sri Lanka. Formed in 1998, the non-profit organisation identifies and addresses the social issues of human and elephant conflict in order to facilitate the conservation of the species.

More information about Blackpool Zoo:

Blackpool Zoo is owned by Parques Reunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates including signature animals such as elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orang-utans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am. You can read more on Blackpool Zoo here.

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