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article imageKaeng Krachan elephant park opens at Zurich Zoo (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Jun 9, 2014 in World
A herd of six elephants at the zoo in Zurich, Switzerland just got a real treat, as the new Kaeng Krachan elephant park opened to the public on Saturday. With loads more space to run around in and six water basins for swimming, they are happy indeed.
Hailed as a "new era" for the six elephants at the zoo, the 11,000-square-meter enclosure is six times bigger than their previous home and even includes six water basins for the pachyderms to take a dip (see one happy elephant in the video above).
Elephant swimming at the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at Zurich Zoo.
Elephant swimming at the Kaeng Krachan Elephant Park at Zurich Zoo.
Visitors to the zoo also get a treat, as they can watch the elephants having a swim under water through the glass wall fitted in one of the swimming basins.
Martin Naville, the zoo's chairman, said Wednesday at an event to present the facility to the world, “Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Rome the Coliseum - Zurich now has its elephant park.”
At a cost of 57-million-franc ($63.5-million), the new park has been carefully designed to provide conditions more closely resembling those of the elephants' natural environment. The cost was financed through foundation grants, legacies and sums donated by more than 5,500 elephant-loving individuals.
The park has been named for the Kaeng Krachan national park in Thailand, where the zoo supports a project to protect Asian elephants.
According to zoo director Alex Rübel, the elephants have private places to socialize outside of the keepers purview as well as both open and covered areas with varied vegetation.
According to the zoo's website, while the park only opened to the public on Saturday, the elephants have been in residence there since March and are well acclimatized to their new surroundings.
As well as having more spacious surroundings, there will soon be an addition to the herd, as one of the females, Indi, is apparently expecting a third calf.
Kaeng Krachan elephant park at Zurich Zoo.
Kaeng Krachan elephant park at Zurich Zoo.
Zurich Zoo
German language source:
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