Plans for Europe's largest elephant sanctuary causes controversy

Noah's Ark is building Europe's largest elephant sanctuary Credit: ITV West

A zoo in Somerset has just started work on Europe's largest elephant sanctuary. Noah's Ark near Wraxall plans to open the 20 acre enclosure next summer. And just down the road in Longleat plans are underway for a similar sanctuary.

But animal charities say elephants shouldn't be kept in captivity and they're urging Noah's Ark not to go ahead with the plans.

The plans to build Europe's largest elephant sanctuary has caused great debate Credit: ITV West

It's something keepers here at Noah's Ark say they've considered. According to zoo owner Anthony Bush, the £1m Elephant Eden project is a "significant step forward" in the care of elephants in captivity.

The enclosure will house up to 10 elephants, with the plans to start with three females and a male. The zoo plans to start a breeding programme too.

The foundations are being put in place for Europe's largest elephant sanctuary Credit: ITV West

Down the road at Longleat, they're also planning an elephant sanctuary. This one won't have a breeding programme and aims to only take in rescue animals already in captivity.

Work has started on building Europe's largest elephant sanctuary Credit: ITV West

The sanctuary at Noah's Ark should open next summer and Longleat hopes their sanctuary won't be far behind.

The issue of animals in captivity has long been a contentious one - and with these two major projects moving forward in such close proximity - it looks like the debate will continue.