Billed as a ‘five star hotel for elephants’, the 20-acre plot at Noah’s Ark Zoo in Bristol has been specially designed to provide the African giant with top-notch care and plenty of space to roam.
Princess Anne, 65, was greeted with rapturous applause from an audience waving British flags as she made her way around the new facility – which features a rather imaginative children’s slide.
Noah’s Ark unveiled its new children’s ‘Elephant Play Zone’, built alongside the barn, which likely raised a few eyebrows with the addition of a (perhaps unwittingly) comical piece of apparatus.
The four-metre-high elephant statue, to scale, features a sizeable slide which runs through the elephant, positioned so that its facilitators zoom out of its backside.
Princess Anne shielded herself from the grey and gloomy weather with a beige mac, black boots and gloves.
She jollied up the ensemble with a colourful silk scarf and a gleaming gold brooch.
Elephant Eden saw the arrival of its first African elephant last year – two characterful bulls named Janu and MíChanga – and is built to house up to ten of the mammals in total.
The park has been widely celebrated for introducing welfare improvements to the industry, and has been used as a model for other facilitates, including international zoo colleagues from as far afield as Japan.
International elephant management specialist Alan Roocroft was the expert to declare it ‘a five star hotel’ for the species.
It is officially the largest of kind in Northern Europe.
According to the zoo, the barns boast specialised computer-controlled winches for automated night-time feeding, a swimming pool, hot and cold showers, six deep sand yards and a central heating system to provide ‘added luxury’.
In the run-up to the Princess’ arrival, Zoo owner Anthony Bush told local publication the Mercury: ‘We’re delighted to prepare for this our first Royal visit at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, it is a real honour for our team.
‘We’re very proud of Elephant Eden and the high standards it has set for elephant welfare and we are looking forward to showing it to HRH The Princess Royal.’
Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE