Blackpool Zoo staff knew exactly where to go when their three Asian elephants needed new toys – Bowland Brewery near Clitheroe.
Animals at the zoo are kept entertained daily by their keepers who invent ingenious ways to hide food so that they have to work a bit harder to find it, as they would in the wild. This process, known as enrichment, is employed throughout the park, but four tonne elephants need stronger playthings than most! Senior Keeper of mammals, Sofie Fawzy, pointed out that elephants are difficult to entertain with plastic feeder balls or branches as they don’t last very long, so stainless steel beer casks are their number one toys. The barrels are stuffed with hay, grass pellets, nuts and vegetables which the elephants have to extract using their trunks. The heavy metal containers are also thrown around the house so have to be chained down when visitors may be present.
Richard Baker, the owner of the Bowland Brewery, was rather surprised at the phone call requesting assistance. He said: “We often get calls from the public asking about our beers, but this was a bolt from the blue! However, we were delighted to be able to help and I look forward to seeing the elephants with their new toys!”
The casks arrived at the Zoo via regular brewery customers, the Blackpool Subscription Bowling Club, and were immediately put to good use, replacing two old containers which were bent beyond recognition!
Jude Rothwell, Marketing and PR Co-ordinator at Blackpool Zoo, said: “We are extremely grateful to the brewery for donating the barrels, which will provide hours of enrichment for our elephants. Perhaps three new beers are now on the cards in honour of the Brewery’s ‘biggest’ fans – Katie’s Keg, Indra’s Thunder and Bella Marcella!”
Bowland Brewery, which opened in 2003 in Bashall Town, produce unique ales bearing names such as Headless Peg, Sky Dancer and a new beer, Pendle Gold, in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witches’ trial.