Work began last July to build a new elephant house at Blackpool Zoo.
The project is part of a £5m spending programme at the East Park Drive attraction. The facility will replace the former enclosure which was 75 years old and was built originally as an aircraft hangar. It is due to open in August this year.
Zoo chiefs say the new elephant house has been specially designed around the complex welfare need of the mammoth species. The plans include sand floors to a depth of one metre, a building height suitable for bulls and cows, high-level feeding baskets, the most suitable environmental conditions, and a flexible layout with protected access for zoo keepers. The zoo currently only has one elephant Kate but the facility would help bring a new elephant family to Blackpool.
The enclosure, at the north east side of the zoo, will feature a raised viewing platform, meaning visitors can come face to face with the impressive residents.Externally, the public will enjoy unobstructed views of the elephants in their paddock.
Darren Webster, managing director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Since breaking ground on our mammoth multi-million pound development last July we have made excellent progress and now the building is complete the sheer scale of the project can be seen by all. “This is our biggest ever single investment and after years of planning and preparation we are in the final stages of constructing one of the most impressive elephant homes in the UK. “The species is the iconic national zoo symbol and features in our logo too, and this project will safeguard the future of elephants in Blackpool.” However animal welfare charity PETA objected to the planning application, saying elephants should not be kept in captivity.