Lancashire

Blackpool Zoo's first male elephant joins breeding programme

Emmett the elephant Image copyright Blackpool Zoo
Image caption Emmett the elephant was moved 200 miles from a zoo in Dunstable

The first male elephant in Blackpool Zoo's 47-year history has arrived to join a new breeding programme.

The 28-year-old, named Emmett, was moved 200 miles from ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable, Bedfordshire.

It will now join the zoo's existing herd of five female Asian elephants, Kate, Minbu, Noorjahan, Tara and Esha.

Project leader Adam Kenyon said the move marked the start of an "exciting new chapter" for breeding at Blackpool.

He said: "We are now just one of four zoos in the UK to house a breeding herd of Asian elephants".

He said the animal's past experience as part of a similar herd in which he has sired young "means he is perfectly placed to teach the next generation of elephants".

The Asian elephant has been listed as endangered since 1986, with populations declining by 50% over the past 75 years due to loss of habitat and poaching.

The new arrival will be enclosed in the zoo's three-acre Project Elephant Base Camp.

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