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chester zoo elephant keeper

chester zoo elephants

Hannah, Rose and Richard


We’ve all heard about Chester Zoo over the last few years due to TV series, such as Our Zoo on BBC One and, most recently, The Secret Life of the Zoo on Channel 4.

With Chester Zoo now holding up to 15,000 animals in 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens, it’s made it the UK’s most visited Zoo.

As corporate sponsors of Chester Zoo, this morning, Becky from our Social Media team here at Sykes Cottages had the privilege of meeting the two baby elephants, Indali (born in January 2017) and Aayu (born in December 2016) at the Zoo. Becky also spoke to Richard (pictured), a keeper for the elephants at Chester Zoo, who answered some of our questions about what it’s like to be a Zoo Keeper:

Q: What does a normal day consist of?

A: We begin the day with morning checks of the elephants. This lasts for about 1.5 hours and consists of things like taking temperatures, checking tails, doing foot care and training any new behaviours we need for medical access. Everything that we do with our elephants is for medical purposes, making sure the herd is fit and well and that we are prepared to deal with anything that may happen in the future. Once the elephants have gone outside at around 10am, it is time for us to clean out the house and restock all feeding options inside. This takes us about 2/3 hours to fully service the building. At around 3pm, the elephants come back inside and it is time for us to clean up outside before doing any evening husbandry work with specific animals that may need a little closer attention, for example, we have an arthritic female who gets a gravity therapy session every evening. Once all tasks are completed, the elephants are left to their own devices overnight.

Q: What do elephants eat and how much?

A: Our elephants get fed approximately 300KGs food every day. This is a mixture of hay, straw, fruit and vegetables and fresh browse. We regularly monitor the weights of all the elephants so we can make adjustments to how much we feed as and when is necessary.

Q: Who’s the greediest?

A: All our elephants like their food, that’s why they spend up to 18 hours a day foraging and feeding! Maya, however, is the largest, weighing in at 4.8 Tonnes.

Q: Do you have a favourite elephant?

A: They’re all great animals to work with, but I do have a soft spot for Sithami. She’s a great individual to work with as well as being an integral part of our herd’s breeding future.

Q: How’s life in the tribe now that the two baby elephants have been born?

A: Life is certainly more hectic now the calves have arrived. They are starting to venture around more on their own as they learn about their environment and all three calves are starting to form some great relationships.

Q: What’s the best part of your job?

A: The calves are always great to watch! Seeing them develop their own personalities within the group, as well as all the interactions with the others elephants, means you get daily doses of fun when they’re around.

chester zoo elephants

Would you like to win 5 tickets to Chester Zoo? Check out our Facebook competition here (competition closes midnight on Tuesday 28th March 2017).

Facebook Competition – Terms and Conditions

  • These terms and conditions apply to the “Chester Zoo” competition (“the competition”) run by Sykes Cottages (“the company’’) and by entering themselves into the competition, entrants will be deemed to have read and accepted these terms and agree to be bound by them. Those who do not agree should not enter into the competition.
  • The competition is open to any person aged 18 and over, except for employees of Sykes Cottages and their families, partners and anyone else connected with the creation and administration of the promotion.
  • To be in with a chance of winning, entrants must reside within the United Kingdom or Ireland.
  • The object of the competition is for entrants to submit a comment on the post informing Sykes Cottages (“the company”) of their favourite zoo animal. The entry will be submitted to the company’s official social media page. Any entry to the competition must be the entrant’s own post.
  • There can only be one entry per person, multiple entries will not be counted.
  • Closing date for entries is 00.01 am 28/03/2017. Winners will be contacted and announced by 5.30 pm on the 28/03/2017. Winners must claim their prize within 30 days of notification or the prize will be void and the winner will be re-selected from all other entrants.
  • No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  • Entrants agree that the company will be entitled to edit entries as it deems fit in accordance with current advertising regulations and will not be obliged to make any use of any part or all of a entry.
  • The winning entry will be determined by the company, and the winning entrant will be contacted through the social media channel by 28th Feb 2017. The final decision is binding and no correspondence will be entered into. The company reserves the right, at any time, to verify the validity of entries and entrants and to disqualify anyone who submits an entry that is in breach of the rules, or those that do not comply with content restrictions.
  • All entries must be received by the closing date.
  • By entering the competition, you grant Sykes Cottages permission to use your details in any of their publications or marketing material, whether it is digitally or physically. This permission cannot be revoked.
  • The Chester Zoo tickets provided by Sykes Cottages are non-transferable and there shall be no alternative prize or cash alternative offered.
  • Sykes Cottages is entitled to refuse to process any prize where necessary, for example, if you are unable to or fail to produce sufficient identification when claiming a prize.
  • The prizes are supplied “as is” with no guarantee to its suitability.
  • Sykes Cottages will not be held accountable for any costs, losses, damages and expenses (including travel fees) which the winner may incur in relation to the competition or prize or as a result of any misrepresentation of the prize.
  • Sykes Cottages reserves the right to declare any competition null and void and stage another competition in its place.
  • Entry into this competition constitutes acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  • Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of England.

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