The Witham MP, Priti Patel, made a weekend house call on some rather unusual constituents. Priti was invited by Colchester Zoo to meet their elephants and learn all about the hard work, care and attention that goes into looking after these incredible animals. Legislation, including the Kept Animals Bill is currently going through Parliament which makes seeing the elephants and their habitat particularly timely.

During her visit Priti went to the elephant kitchen and heard about their extensive dietary requirements and later, she had the opportunity to meet two female elephants, Tanya and Opal, in the indoor enclosure at the Zoo. Tanya is an African elephant and Priti fed her vegetables and a coconut. She also witnessed a training demonstration and watched as the elephants moved to their outdoor enclosure.

Tanya makes her way into the outdoor elephant enclosure (background). Priti Patel with (from left) Andy Moore – Conservation Education Manager, Andrew Hall – British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquaria and Rebecca Moore – Zoo Director.

After her visit, Priti said: “It was a terrific experience to see the elephants close up and to actually feed one of them myself.  It was also very interesting to be able to talk to the people who look after them and hear all about the care regime that is required.  Many of my constituents visit Colchester Zoo where they can learn about the natural world, be inspired to take action to contribute to the fight against loss of biodiversity as well as enjoy a great day out.”

Rebecca Moore, Zoo Director said: “We were delighted that Priti could join us to see the elephants and to hear about the conservation work we do here.  With new legislation relating to our work going through the pipeline at Westminster, it is a good time to be talking to the legislators, for those of us who are dedicated to these animals here at the Zoo and in the wild.”

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