Sutton the elephant packs his trunk for pastures new…
Our male African elephant, Sutton, has now moved to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.
Whilst we are sad to see him go, his relocation to ‘Elephant Eden’ at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, will see him flourish as he learns the skills and characteristics of a bull elephant, from his new, older companions, Shaka and Janu.
Sutton was born on 5th May 2014 and was both the first baby elephant birthed at the Park, and the first male elephant in the world to be born by artificial insemination, using semen from a wild bull. This not only makes him a very special elephant to us, but his genetics are vital, providing a key supporting role in serving wider conservation efforts as part of the EEP (EAZA Ex-situ Programme) for African elephants.
Sutton was named by our guests, in honour of local teenager, Stephen Sutton, who raised a phenomenal £4.2m for Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen had visited the Park whilst he was undergoing cancer treatment and sadly passed away a few days after Sutton was born.
Elephant Eden is an excellent habitat in the UK for bachelor elephants, so we are delighted and confident that this is a great move for Sutton. He will be greatly missed by his keepers and staff here at the Park and we are working closely with the team at Noah’s Ark, to ensure he settles in well.
Sutton’s move will make way for a bull elephant to be rehomed here at the Park in the very near future, as a suitable companion for Five. The hope is the pair will successfully breed, supporting the EEP for African elephant conservation.
African Elephants are listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), with the wild population declining due to poaching for their ivory and loss of habitat. This is why it’s ever more important for collections like ours to work together to ensure the preservation of endangered species such as African Elephants, alongside providing the best standard of animal welfare.
West Midland Safari Park is partnered with the charity Tusk, which supports ‘in the field’ conservation through the Mali Elephant Project. This project protects a unique population of 550 sub-desert elephants and the Park annually fundraises, donates and raises awareness for this cause.
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Courtesy of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm
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