Smelly send-off as elephants pack trunks

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Part of the elephant herd at Knowsley Safari Park . Pic © Knowsley Safari Park

Knowsley Safari Park is moving its elephant herd over to France during the construction of a new habitat – with a rather smelly way of settling them into their new home.

Plans are underway for a state-of-the-art facility to be built here on Merseyside as part of the park’s ‘Foot Safari Transformation’ project.

In the meantime, Knowsley’s four African elephants will be making the move over to ZooParc de Beauval in Saint-Aignan in southern France to participate in the European Breeding Programme while their old habitat is being renovated.

To help them cope with the transition, their own dung is being shipped across the Channel as well as some French equivalent coming in the opposite direction.

Eveline de Wolf, Head of Animal Collection for the park, said: “We have been preparing for this move for the last year and our team of keepers have been working closely with our elephants to make the journey as comfortable as possible for them.”

YouTube: Matt Dodd

Elephant keeper Alex boxes up local herd’s dung. Pic © Knowsley Safari Park

A spokesman for Knowsley Safari Park explained to JMU Journalism that elephants have a very sensitive sense of smell, and sniffing another elephants’ dung can reveal key information about newcomers, such as their gender and if they are ready for a mate.

When the keepers arrive in Knowsley from ZooParc de Beauval, they will bring with them boxes of the stinky stuff from the French elephants, which is then introduced to the herd in Liverpool so they can start to get to know each other before the big move to assist with sharing habitats until the new facility is completed in 2019.

The keepers from France will then take some of the local elephants’ waste back over the Channel with them for their herd to get an intimate sense of their new companions.

About Andrew Nuttall, JMU Journalism