‘Elephantastic’ weekend at Whipsnade

PUBLISHED: 15:57 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 14 September 2017

Sam eating bananas.

Sam eating bananas.

Archant

Visitors will have a chance to meet ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s largest residents for Elephant Appreciation Weekend.

Sam's mum Azizah helps finish off the food.Sam's mum Azizah helps finish off the food.

The ‘Elephantastic’ exhibition will be held on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17. Visitors who make a donation to the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) conservation research for elephants can have an up close encounter with one of the zoo’s nine elephants, feed them a fruity snack and have their photo taken.

There will also be VIP keeper tours and behind-the-scenes guided tours of the new Centre for Elephant Care, which was officially opened by the Queen in April.

Visitors can also watch zookeepers bathe the elephants, attend a number of keeper talks and watch the herd’s youngest member, one-year-old Elizabeth, play in her paddock.

Activities for children will include face painting and a chance to dance along to the sounds of Asia, and a host of Asian cuisine will be on offer.

Sam and his banquet.Sam and his banquet.

The zoo will also hold a silent auction and raffle with unique prizes on offer, such as elephant-themed artwork and animal encounters.

Asian elephants are classified as endangered due to habitat loss, human conflict and poaching. Their wild populations are in decline, and elephants face a growing threat from the potentially fatal virus EEHV.

The species is also listed on ZSL’s EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) list, meaning they are in particular need of conservation.

ZSL’s vets, conservationists and researchers are trying to understand what causes EEHV, and are working in Thailand, where there are many Asian elephants, to reduce human-wildlife conflict and ensure the peaceful coexistence of elephants and humans.

Sam and his banquet.Sam and his banquet.

To book tickets to Elephantastic go to https://www.zsl.org/

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