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Thursday, February 21, 2013 | This article is listed in the sections Zoos and animal parks and Magazine.

Elephant park at Allwetterzoo Münster

construction work elephant park (13th Feb. 2013)
Allwetterzoo Münster, the zoo in the named German city equipped to withstand any weather condition, looks back on a long tradition in keeping elephants – after all, in 1899 the legendary elephant cow "August” moved in the then "worldwide most beautiful elephant house”. The first bull arrived in 1994 and, five years later, the first calf was born. Unfortunately, it passed away 30 hours afterwards. The zoo again hopes for offspring ever since, because breeding elephants is an absolute prerequisite for a long-term keeping.

Allwetterzoo Münster is planning to add an elephant park of 5000 square metres in order to be able to continue keeping and breeding elephants. It is scheduled to open this year. Additionally to the already existing elephant enclosure, a new, separate bull wing with kraal is coming into being. This will be a significantly expanded outdoor plant with large bodies of water and a wallow for mud baths. Therewith the zoo complies with the EU guidelines for keeping elephants, and meets the requirements made by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia for operating zoological gardens in general.

construction work elephant park (13th Feb. 2013)

A new wing for bulls

A separate bull wing is necessary to improve animal husbandry and security for keepers. Biological reason call for a separate living accommodation of female and male elephants, especially in musth. The new wing provides three box stalls, each enabling keepers to care for bulls without risking their lives or safety respectively, and has access to both the kraal and the giant outdoor plant including bodies of water. During musth, which lasts several weeks, males enter a state of increased testosterone. Musth bulls feel downright dominant towards fellow species, fight for every mating cow and become extremely aggressive, also towards humans.

This new elephant park should not only increase the keeper's safety and the animal's comfort, but also attract visitors. The indoor feeding station, allowing humans to put carrots or apples into the elephants' trunk, will be more convenient to reach. A new routing is going to provide appealing views of the outdoor plant, more than twice as big as before, and the animals living there. Moreover, visitors to Allwetterzoo Münster may look forward to spending some time relaxing on the cafeteria's new terrace while watching the elephants. At this time the construction work on the elephant park is already at an advanced stage and there are no foreseeable obstacles to completion in time for the opening in June.

Impressions from the Allwetterzoo Münster

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© parkscout/MV/AF

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