Bad weather is to blame for the delayed opening of Blackpool Zoo’s new elephant house, bosses said.
The new multi-million pound attraction was due to open over the summer – but has now been put back until November.
The team are confident that she will be ready to move by the end of October and the house will remain closed until she has settled in, but the public will still be able to see her in her new huge outdoor paddock.
Managing director Darren Webster said: “The results of our most ambitious and biggest ever single investment are stunning and the state-of-the-art elephant house is almost ready for its first resident Kate, who coincidently was one of the first animals to move to Blackpool Zoo 46 years ago.
“As it is such a large project, and the weather was against us throughout July and August, the summer opening was slightly delayed and we are currently working on some final snagging and decoration in the public areas before Kate moves in.
“The team are confident that she will be ready to move by the end of October and the house will remain closed until she has settled in, but the public will still be able to see her in her new huge outdoor paddock.”
Construction on the elephant house began last July as part of a £5m investment, after zoo bosses told Spanish parent company Parque Reunidos Kate’s current home is no longer fit for purpose. The Asian elephant is currently being familiarised with the crate that will move her.
Its opening will help mark the zoo’s 45th anniversary, and bosses are looking to bring a new elephant family to the resort at some point in the future. Speaking earlier this year, keeper Adam Kenyon said the zoo is hoping to establish a breeding programme.
He explained the importance of bringing an already established group, and added: “We try to keep animals in their maternal herds as much as possible.”