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EDITIONS
 Saturday, 25 January, 2003, 11:15 GMT
Amorous elephants sent to France
African elephants
There will be separate housing for the females in France
Five elephants at Longleat Safari Park are being packed off to France to prevent their passions running wild.

The animals will be transferred from the Wiltshire park across the channel to give them more room to roam after it was feared they were becoming too frisky.

The herd of one bull and four female African elephants has been at Longleat, which is owned by the Marquis of Bath, since 1992 and staff are said to be very sad at the decision to move them.

A new purpose-built facility at the Zoo Parc Beauval at St Aignan in France will be the animals' new home and will include separate housing for the females and secure areas for the male.

We had to consider the long-term welfare of the animals now they have reached sexual maturity

Tim Moore, Longleat general manager

There are also extensive outdoor paddocks to match the open spaces at Longleat, which is most famous for its lions.

The decision to transfer the animals was taken following a re-appraisal of the long-term viability of keeping the elephants.

Longleat's general manager, Tim Moore, said: "Obviously this kind of decision is never taken lightly.

"We had to consider the long-term welfare of the animals now they have reached sexual maturity, the continued safety of their keepers and the ongoing growth of the rest of the safari park.

Spring transfer

"Having taken all those different factors into account it was decided that it was simply not feasible to maintain a breeding group of elephants safely and we began looking for alternative arrangements.

"Following a comprehensive assessment of potential relocation sites we are extremely pleased to have been able to secure such an excellent new home for all the animals in France."

It is anticipated the elephants will be transferred to their new home in the spring where they will form the nucleus of a captive breeding programme.


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See also:

03 Jul 02 | England
31 May 02 | England
14 May 02 | England
30 Apr 02 | England
26 Mar 02 | Wales
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