Elephants at Blackpool Zoo got a surprise Halloween treat today after a 50-stone pumpkin was airlifted into their enclosure.
The pumpkin, which was donated by the Friends of Stanley Park, was so big, firefighters from Blackpool’s Forest Gate station were called in to help with the move.
It took two hours, eight crew, four zoo keepers, one aerial ladder platform (ALP), one pick-up truck and one forklift truck to complete the mission and it took four elephants just two minutes to smash it to pieces.
The ALP was used to lift the colossal squash onto a zoo vehicle, before the firefighters and zoo staff made the journey to Blackpool Zoo’s Project Elephant Base Camp.
Elaine Smith , chairman of Friends of Stanley Park said: “The four foot wide and three foot tall pumpkin was originally donated to us by Steve Bullock from Layton Allotments in Blackpool, and it drew crowds over the half-term break!
“When the holidays were over we wondering what we could do with it. We know Blackpool Zoo has a large elephants herd so we wanted to give them a treat.
“Keepers accepted our offer, but we had the issue of transportation – and that is when the zoo’s marketing team stepped in!”
Nicola Benstead, marketing and PR co-ordinator at the Zoo, said: “We were absolutely delighted to accept the very kind offer from Elaine at Stanley Park and knew exactly who we should call when we needed a hand!
“It wasn’t the easiest of tasks but everyone pulled together and the girls thoroughly enjoyed their super-sized snack!”
Fire station manager Ian Armistead, added: “We’re all big fans of Blackpool Zoo and Stanley Park, so naturally we wanted to get involved.
“It’s also a great training exercise for the crew and it was certainly different from our usual drills.”
“It took a lot of teamwork to make sure it got there in one piece and it was great to see the elephants making light work of their treat!”