Blackpool Zoo is preparing to welcome a male elephant for the first time in its 47-year history.
The lovely ladies at Project Elephant - Kate, Tara, Minbu, Noorjahan and Esha - are expected to welcome Emmett, a 28-year-old Asian bull, to their herd by the end of the year.
It is hoped he will become the father to a new generation of elephants at the zoo.
The section head of Project Elephant, Adam Kenyon, said: “We are all very excited to be welcoming Emmett to Blackpool Zoo.
“We’re working towards a multi-generational herd of Asian elephants that exhibits natural, wild behaviours and a key component of this is the addition of a male.
“Not only is he crucial from a biological point of view but his past experience as part of a multi-generational herd in which he has sired young means he is perfectly placed to teach the next generation of elephants.”
“I have spent time with Emmett in recent months and he has matured into a wonderful breeding bull with a great temperament – which is exactly what we were looking for.”
Emmett currently resides at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable.
A transport crate from Blackpool Zoo recently made its way down the M1 following 12 months of behind-the-scenes work with experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and specialist keepers from across the UK and beyond.
Darren Webster, director at Blackpool Zoo, said: “Emmett is a fundamental part of our plan to secure a future for this magnificent species.
“Ground broke on Project Elephant in 2016 and his arrival marks the start of a thrilling journey.
“We have worked with amazing teams at Twycross and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo as well as experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) to create a strong herd and our outstanding facilities provide a great environment for them all to thrive.”
ZSL’s senior curator of mammals, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, added: “Part of the European Endangered Species Programme for Asian elephants, Emmett’s move is an exciting one for his new herd at Blackpool as well as the herd at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, who will themselves soon be welcoming a new male into the group.
“Male elephants in the wild do not stay with one matriarchal herd for their lifetimes, so this replicates a natural process for both males – we’re sure Emmett will waste no time getting to know his new herd.”