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West Midland Safari Park welcomes 23-year-old elephant Coco

West Midland Safari Park has announced the arrival of a 23-year-old elephant who is "settling in" to his new home.

Keepers hope that Coco and Five may breed in the future, supporting African elephant conservation.

The male African elephant, named Coco, arrived at the safari park last week, having spent his first few days meeting his new keepers.

And Coco could be the perfect match for the park's female elephant, Five, with keepers hoping they will successfully breed in the future, supporting the EEP (EAZA Ex-situ Programme) for African elephant conservation.

The 23-year-old male is a new companion for the Park’s female elephant, Five.

His arrival follows the departure of Five's son, Sutton, who moved to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Clevedon in May, to join a bachelor herd of elephants.

Andy Plumb, head keeper of elephants at West Midland Safari Park, said: "The team are very excited to welcome Coco to the park.

"Having recently moved Sutton to another zoo, to continue his path to adulthood, Coco will be a great companion for Five, our 31-year-old female, and we hope they form a strong bond.

"The move went very smoothly and the arrival of an experienced male like Coco at the Park, will hopefully enable us to achieve our goals of becoming a successful breeding group in the future. We’re looking forward to introducing him to all our guests."

Coco, who was born on June 14, 2000, has already bred calves both at his previous home in the UK and at Cabarceno Zoo Obregon, in Spain, where he was born.

Keepers at the park have said the next step is to continue to introduce him to his new habitat, including outdoor pools, mud wallows, state-of-the-art elephant house, dust baths and feeding areas.

When Coco is fully settled, he will then be slowly introduced to Five, by allowing them to meet in neighbouring outdoor paddocks.

As a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, West Midland Safari Park has said it adheres to the "highest standards in the world" when caring for elephants, who face an "uncertain" future.

The safari park has said it is therefore "ever more important" for wildlife collections to work together to ensure the preservation of endangered species such as African elephants, alongside providing the best standards of animal welfare.

Visitors to the attraction will be able to spot Coco in the four-mile safari drive-through, which is included in the admission charge to the park.

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