Marking World Elephant Day (12 August), Longleat is sharing, for the first time, details of an important conservation project to help conserve and protect Asian elephants.
Earlier this year keepers from the Wiltshire Safari Park travelled to Thailand to support renowned osteopath, Tony Nevin, in giving practical workshops to people who care for elephants internationally.
Longleat has been home to Anne the elephant since 2011 after she was rescued from a circus. Due to her previous life, she suffers from a series of health and welfare issues including chronic arthritis in her back legs.
Tony’s been treating Anne ever since she arrived at Longleat to improve her mobility and reduce her discomfort.
He’s using the skills and insights gained from his time with her to help treat other rescued elephants worldwide and provide guidance and advice for the people who care for them.
Amazing techniques that might seem simple for smaller animals or humans, take on new significance and complexity with these ginormous animals.
The application of Tony’s osteopathy practices with the rescued elephants at the workshop in Thailand saw a marked improvement in their posture and gait over the course of a week.
His techniques and advice will also be used by vets and animal rescue groups who attended the event from across Asia to minimise discomfort among many more rescued elephants and help them live healthier, happier lives.
“Anne is hugely intelligent and renowned for being quite the character by all who are lucky enough to spend time with her,” said Longleat’s Head of Animal Operations, Darren Beasley.
“It is a privilege to have been entrusted with her care and we’re so pleased that, with Tony’s help, we can share the learning and techniques honed at Longleat to provide vital support for her species across the world,” he added.
Longleat has joined forces with the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) and the World Elephant Day Foundation to help secure better outcomes for elephants across the world.
They’re calling on the public to write to their MPs asking the government to support the conservation of elephants and promote high-welfare conditions for elephants in human care around the world.
“We are proud that our member safari parks such as Longleat are world-leaders in elephant care,” said Dr Jo Judge, CEO of BIAZA.
“The dedicated work of Tony and the Longleat keepers is a brilliant example of this – sharing the knowledge and skills they have in caring for Anne, can go on to support elephants all across the world.
“Together we are fighting for a world where elephants thrive both in human care and in the wild” she added.
As part of World Elephant Day, Longleat is also providing an update on Anne’s health. At approximately 69 years of age, she is the oldest Asian elephant on record in Europe, and thought to be among the five eldest elephants in the world.
Expert keepers and veterinary teams use a toolbox of techniques to make sure she is well cared for and in the best health possible.
To find out more about the Thailand trip, Anne’s current condition, and how to get involved with World Elephant Day go to https://youtu.be/Op77ufJR54A