Centre for Elephant Care

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo's brand new £2m Centre for Elephant Care provides the perfect complement to the herd’s seven grass paddocks.

It has been designed by award-winning architects and uses our keepers' expertise to ensure that we are leading the way in elephant care.

The Centre for Elephant Care has a host of elephant-friendly features:

  • More space than ever, with more than 700m² of additional indoor space.
  • A one-metre deep soft sand floor for maximum comfort  for the elephants to walk on. There are also sand mounds for them to play with, or lie against as elephants like to sleep on a slight gradient.
  • Dimming lights mimic the transition between natural daylight and night-time conditions.
  • Timed feeding pods have been installed, which will release food to the herd at intervals to allow them to graze as and when they wish. 
  • Six large reclaimed oak trees are set into the floor of the Centre to provide scratching posts for the herd as well as for the keepers to hang treats, or puzzle feeders as enrichment. .

The Centre for Elephant Care highlights our commitment to providing the best home for our Asian elephant herd but visitors to the new Centre will also benefit from its new features:

  • Try your hand at giving an elephant pedicure on a replica foot and also examine the species’ physiology by studying the results of an elephant skull x-ray and an ultrasound of a pregnant female.  
  • Watch the herd from a balconied viewing platform as they socialise together and also get a unique insight into the daily attention lavished on the  pachyderms by their zookeepers.
  • A large electronic board displays the live infrasonic vocalisations (very low frequency sounds that are below the threshold of human hearing) being made by the elephants so visitors will be able to see how the herd communicate with each other.
  • New signage and information displays highlight the research conducted by ZSL’s vets and the lengths the keepers go to care for the elephants. 
  • Listen to our new elephant talks, led by the Zoo’s team of presenters, about Asian elephants’ fascinating biology and behaviour, as well as the amazing conservation work carried out by ZSL to protect the species in the wild.