Meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Asian elephant herd
The nine elephants share a seven acre paddock at the Zoo, which comprises of five linked outside areas, including a large grass paddock, as well as two separate houses.
Additional facilities include three pools, mud wallows, dust baths and rubbing posts and high feeders.
Emmett is the herd’s only adult male and he is also father to Donna born in July 2009, Sam born in 2014 and latest arrival Elizabeth born in 2016.
As well as caring for our herd here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, ZSL is involved with Asian elephants around the world.
ZSL's conservation work
Our teams work to monitor and mitigate conflict between humans and elephants around the boundaries of three protected areas: Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary, Sri Nakaren National Park and Chaloem Ratanakosin National Park. Approximately 200 Asian elephants live in this landscape. Historically, elephants and humans have coexisted with little conflict. But within the last fifteen years, incidents of conflict such as crop raiding and elephant/human deaths have increased.
Come face to face with our largest residents, the Asian Elephant. This is your chance to get up close to one of our herd, hand feed them and ask one of our expert elephant keepers all about them. The largest of Whipsnade’s residents they live in herds and can be found across Asia. Their numbers are currently declining due to habitat loss and poaching and by taking part in this experience you are helping to support ZSL’s elephant conservation project in Thailand.
Did you know
An elephant’s trunk has approximately 100,000 individual muscles and it can take an elephant calf a whole year to master. Elephants use their trunk for eating, drinking, communication and even as a snorkel as they are swimming.
- £99 per person
Meet the Elephants is now SOLD OUT FOR 2017.
We do not hold a waiting list but any cancellations will be put back on sale immediately via the link below.
The experience runs Wednesday to Sunday and also on Bank holiday Mondays, from 27th May to 30th September. You must be at the meeting point at 4.20pm ready for the experience to begin at 4.30pm. The meeting point is on the large brown gate past the new elephant house.
Terms and conditions
- General admission ticket or valid membership per person must be purchased to be allowed entry into the zoo and take part in the Meet the Elephants experience..
- You will be taken behind the scenes by one of our expert elephant keepers, before feeding one of our herd.
- Please listen to the keeper at all times. (Your safety as well as the welfare of all animals is their upmost priority. As such, the keeper can stop the encounter or ask participants to exit the VIP area at any time should they feel necessary.)
- Maximum of 6 participants per experience, each of whom must have a valid Meet the Elephants ticket.
- Children: must be over 3 years of age and be accompanied by an adult, no more than 2 children per adult. Each adult must also have a valid Meet the Elephants ticket.
- Appropriate closed toe footwear must be worn for the experience.
- Disabilities: Participants with learning or visual impairment must be accompanied by a carer who takes full responsibility for the adherence of health and safety and welfare protocols. Accompanying carers can enter the VIP area free of charge but must not participate in the experience. Please note: Wheelchair access is not available for this experience.
- Pregnant/ nursing mothers who have given birth within the previous six months cannot participate for health and safety reasons.
- Cancellations: ZSL reserves the right to alter the experience or cancel on any given day if necessary. We will endeavour to contact you via email at least 24-hours before your visit to notify you of any changes. We recommend checking your emails on the day before your visit in case we have emailed you. If these changes result in you missing the encounter or you are no longer able to attend, please contact us to discuss options.
- Turning up late will invalidate your ticket and will not be refunded.
- Bookings cancelled up to 14 days before the date will be eligible for a full refund. Thereafter changes will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of ZSL.
Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are trumpeting the arrival of an exciting new addition, a baby Asian elephant.
The pint-sized pachyderm was born on Friday 10 June, just in time for the nation’s celebrations of HM The Queen’s official 90th birthday.
In recognition of her regal birthdate, keepers have given the youngster a moniker fit for a monarch, and named the five-day-old calf Elizabeth, after HM The Queen, who is also Patron of the conservation charity which runs the Zoo.
Born to 17-year-old Karishma following a 22-month gestation period, and weighing in at a hefty 130kg, the young female joins a herd of ten Asian elephants at the 600-acre Zoo in Bedfordshire.
Arriving slightly earlier than anticipated, Elizabeth’s mum Karishma had showed no signs of going into labour, so lead keeper Darren Fellowes was surprised to find the new addition getting to know the rest of the herd when he arrived at work in the morning.
ZSL’s assistant curator of elephants, Lee Sambrook said: “Elizabeth is a great new addition to the Asian elephant herd here at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, and we had to mark her poignant birthday with a suitably regal name.
“When we know an elephant is pregnant, and nearing her due date, we do a daily hormone test to give us an indication of timescales. Karishma’s most recent test suggested we had more time than we did, but you really can’t get a better surprise than a baby elephant!
“She’s strong, healthy and already forming bonds with her brothers and sisters. Maybe one day she’ll be the matriarch of her own herd.”
Classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Asian elephants are also ranked on ZSL’s EDGE list, which highlights species which are Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered, due to their threatened status and unique evolutionary history.
Elizabeth can be spotted with mum Karishma and the rest of the elephant herd enjoying their huge paddocks at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.