1. ITV Report

Blackpool Zoo welcomes new elephant

Blackpool Zoo is heralding a new and exciting chapter as it welcomes the first male elephant in its 47-year history.

Emmett, who is an Asian elephant, completed his successful 200-mile journey from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in the evening of Friday 25th October.

He spent the weekend settling into the multimillion-pound Project Elephant Base Camp development ahead of being introduced to Blackpool’s herd of females.

Credit: Blackpool Zoo

The momentous occasion comes after more than five years of incredible work from the management and zoo keeping teams at the zoo.

First came the design and build of the development, which is entirely centred round the needs of the magnificent species.

This was followed by extensive talks with experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and specialist keepers from across the UK and beyond to create a multi-generational herd of Asian elephants.

Blackpool Zoo’s Section Head of Project Elephant, Adam Kenyon, travelled with Emmett from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and is absolutely delighted to welcome him to Blackpool.

He said:

Today marks the start of a new and exciting chapter in Blackpool Zoo’s history as we are now just one of four zoos in the UK to house a breeding herd of Asian elephants.

We’re working towards a multi-generational group that exhibits natural, wild behaviours and a key component of this is the addition of a male.

His past experience as part of a similar herd in which he has sired young means he is perfectly placed to teach the next generation of elephants.

– Adam Kenyon

Emmett will now be introduced to females Kate, Minbu, Noorjahan, Tara and Esha.

Kate was the first animal to arrive at Blackpool in 1972 while the other four packed their trunks and moved to Blackpool from Twycross Zoo in 2018.

Darren Webster, Director at Blackpool Zoo, said:

Emmett is a fundamental part of our plan to secure a future for this magnificent species.

We have worked with amazing teams at Twycross and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as well as experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to create a strong herd and our outstanding facilities provide a great environment for them all to thrive.

– Darren Webster

Project Elephant underpins Blackpool Zoo’s ongoing commitment to the endangered Asian Elephant. It is a long-term supporter of the Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT) in Sri Lanka.

Formed in 1998, the non-profit organisation identifies and addresses the social issues of human and elephant conflict in order to facilitate the conservation of the species.

The Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List since 1986. The population has declined by at least 50 percent over the last three generations, estimated to be 60–75 years, with threats including loss of habitat, habitat degradation, fragmentation and poaching.