WEST Midland Safari Park has welcomed a new addition to its elephant family with the arrival of Coco, a 23-year-old bull African elephant.

Coco arrived at the park on August 9, 2023, and has been getting acquainted with his new keepers and settling into his new home.

The purpose behind Coco's arrival is to breed with the park's female elephant, Five, in support of the EEP (EAZA Ex-situ Programme) for African elephant conservation.

The hope is that the pair will successfully breed in the future.

Coco's arrival at the park follows the departure of Five's son, Sutton, who was relocated to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in May to join a bachelor herd of elephants.

Andy Plumb, Head Keeper of Elephants 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 has already fathered calves both in his previous home in the UK and at Cabarceno Zoo Obregon in Spain, where he was born on June 14, 2000.

Currently, Coco is being introduced to his new habitat, which includes outdoor pools, mud wallows, a state-of-the-art elephant house, dust baths, and feeding areas.

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

African elephants face an uncertain future and are considered "endangered" by the IUCN due to factors such as poaching for ivory and habitat loss.

West Midland Safari Park has partnered with the charity Tusk, which actively supports the Mali Elephant Project to promote in-the-field conservation.

This project aims to safeguard a unique population of 550 sub-desert elephants.