London elephants to join friends at Whipsnade
Tuesday 30 October 2001
The three elephants at London Zoo are to be moved permanently to Whipsnade Wild Animal Park when additional new facilities are completed.
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) today (30th October) announced that the three female Asian elephants, who have delighted millions of visitors at London Zoo for many years, are to be moved, when appropriate, to a new home at Whipsnade where they will join the four elephants who are already there.
Michael Dixon, ZSL Director General, said, "It has been a long-standing plan to assemble all our elephants at Whipsnade, a move that would significantly increase the potential of our conservation breeding programme. Construction of additional new facilities and extension of Whipsnades current enclosure commenced at the beginning of the year, but the new enclosure is only part of the story. We have to be careful to not disturb the London or Whipsnade elephants by integrating them too quickly or in a way that prejudices their welfare. One of our elephant keepers from Whipsnade is currently helping to look after the elephants in London and will be an important part of the familiarisation programme when they reach Whipsnade".
"Even though the move cannot take place immediately, we feel it right to make this announcement now because of the high level of current interest following the tragic death of our colleague, Jim Robson. We will be sorry to see the elephants go; there have been elephants in London Zoo since 1831. But Whipsnade is very accessible, being only 40 minutes drive from Regent's Park, and these elephants will be able to benefit from the larger group, with a breeding bull and two pregnant companions to socialise with".
Press contact: ZSL Public Relations Office on 020-7449 6363
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