Elephant lovers can look forward to an unforgettable weekend at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo with Elephantastic, a two-day celebration of the Zoo’s largest residents, the Asian elephants, on 16 and 17 September.
Marking the worldwide Elephant Appreciation Weekend visitors can enjoy an up close and personal encounter with one of the Zoo’s nine elephants, feed them a fruity snack and have their photo taken – all for a small donation towards ZSL’s conservation research for elephants.
The whole family can discover exactly what it takes to care for a herd of pachyderms during VIP keeper tours and behind-the-scenes guided tours of the new Centre for Elephant Care, which was officially opened by HM The Queen in April this year.
What’s more, visitors can watch zookeepers bathe the elephants, attend a number of fascinating keeper talks and watch one-year-old Elizabeth, the herd’s youngest member, play in her paddock.
There will also be plenty of fun activities to entertain kids, including face-painting and a chance to dance along to the sounds of Asia, while a host of Asian-inspired cuisine will be on offer too.
Plus, a Silent Auction and a raffle will ensure the special day lives long in the memory as plenty of unique prizes will be on offer, such as beautiful elephant-themed artwork and animal encounters.
Classified as Endangered by the IUCN due to habitat loss, human conflict and poaching their wild populations are in decline, and elephants face a growing threat from a virus, known as EEHV, which can be fatal.
The charismatic mammals are also listed on ZSL’s EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) list, meaning the species is in particularly urgent need of conservation action.
ZSL’s vets, conservationists and researchers are trying to understand what causes this disease and are working in Thailand – a major stronghold for Asian elephants – to reduce human-wildlife conflict, ensuring the peaceful coexistence of elephants and humans.