A safari park in Wiltshire has unveiled its plans for a multi-million-pound sanctuary new elephant sanctuary.
Longleat Safari & Adventure Park has submitted their plans for approval. They include a 994-square-metre heated accommodation area with deep sand floors, natural sky light panels, automated feeding systems, and a specialist treatment area.
The large 10-hectare outdoor space will also feature a large grassy paddock, rocks, log piles, a giant browse frame, sand pits and the ‘Thirst Pockets Elephant Spa’ which will give the elephants a pool to relax in.
The new sanctuary will offer a permanent home for Anne, Britain’s last circus elephant, who has been cared for at Longleat since April 2011 after secretly filmed footage showed her being abused by her former groom.
– David Bradley, Longleat CEO
It has been an incredibly complex and highly-detailed process but we are confident the proposals we have submitted will deliver an elephant rescue and rehabilitation facility which will utilise cutting edge knowledge to provide for the specialist needs of the elephants.
The new sanctuary will provide accommodation for up to four elephants, including Anne, however Longleat will not be re-homing other elephants until the new building has been completed. It's believed there are currently 55 circus elephants in Europe.
– Jon Cracknell, Longleat’s Director of Animal Operations
Although we cannot take in every elephant, we aim to lead by example and provide a facility to help rescued elephants which can be replicated elsewhere.
Since arriving at Longleat, Anne has been under the full-time care of three highly-experienced keepers and has received specialised veterinary care, osteopathy and ongoing medical treatment.
Keepers have been astonished with the improvement in the health of Anne, who is one of the oldest elephants in Europe at almost 60 years old. There has been a complete transformation in the condition of her skin, feet, trunk, ears and general muscle tone.
It's hoped that, once approved, work will begin on the multi-million pound sanctuary later this year with a proposed completion date in 2014.