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Elephant Aquarium Opens For Visitors In Swiss Park

Zurich Zoo in Switzerland can really claim to have an elephant-sized aquarium - and have proved it by filling it with real elephants. The zoo's new Kaeng Krachan elephant park opens to visitors this weekend, complete with elephant tank, hailing what managers call a "new era" in care for its six tuskers. The park takes its name from the Kaeng Krachan national elephant park in Thailand, where the Zurich Zoo has links through its support for a project to protect Asian elephants. The 11,000-square-metre Swiss park features six times the space of the previous enclosure - and six water basins for the elephants to swim in including one that offers an aquarium view of them under the water. The basin has a glass wall, reinforced of course to take the weight of the elephant sized occupants. "Paris has the Eiffel Tower, Rome the Colosseum — Zurich now has its elephant park," said Martin Naville, chairman of the zoo. The 50 million GBP facility is designed to give the elephants conditions that more closely resemble their natural environment, said zoo director Alex Ruebel. They have places to socialise where keepers are not allowed to go, with covered and open areas with different vegetation. The zoo said on its website that the elephants have been in the new park since mid-March and have had plenty of time to acclimatise to their new conditions. The herd is about to get bigger with the addition of a male elephant while one of the females, Indi, is expecting a third calf, the zoo said. The cost of the elephant park was financed through foundation grants, legacies and sums donated by more than 5,500 elephant loving individuals.

austriantimes.com


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