WEST Midland Safari Park has announced that its male African elephant, Sutton, has moved to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.

Staff waved goodbye to the elephant on Tuesday morning (May 9), as he started the journey to his new home, ‘Elephant Eden’, a state-of-the-art reserve at the Bristol attraction, with 20 acres of habitat and a large plantation for the elephants to roam and browse.

Although keepers are sad to see him go, they say that the move will see him flourish as he learns the skills and characteristics of a bull elephant, from his new, older male companions, Shaka and Janu.

Head keeper of elephants at the safari park, Andy Plumb, said, “It is a bittersweet time for me and the elephant team to see Sutton leave us. He has been here at the Park since his birth in 2014 and we have built a strong bond with him, but it is time for him to continue his journey.

“Unfortunately, African elephants face an uncertain future, with the wild population declining, meaning they are listed as ‘endangered’.

Sutton’s move to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will enable him to continue his development and hopefully go on to become a successful breeding bull at another collection in the future, further supporting and protecting the survival of elephants into the future.”

Kidderminster Shuttle: Sutton at just a week old, at West Midland Safari ParkSutton at just a week old, at West Midland Safari Park (Image: WMSP)

Sutton was born on 5 May 2014 and was both the first baby elephant birthed at the Park, and the first male elephant in the world to be born by artificial insemination, using semen from a wild bull.

He was named by the Park’s guests, in honour of local teenager, Stephen Sutton, who raised a phenomenal £4.2m for Teenage Cancer Trust.

Stephen had visited the Park whilst he was undergoing cancer treatment and sadly passed away a few days before Sutton was born.

Sutton’s move will make way for a bull elephant to be rehomed at the Safari Park in the very near future, as a suitable companion for female elephant, Five.