A second elephant has left Twycross Zoo to begin a new life beside the seaside.
Minbu is the latest of the Leicestershire zoo's elephant herd to make the trip to Blackpool Zoo as part of Project Elephant. Her departure is aimed at increasing numbers of the endangered species.
Twycross Zoo had four female elephants which will all eventually be homed at the Lancashire zoo, with Tara already gone, Esha and mum Noorjahan are expected to follow Minbu.
Their new home is a specially designed three-acre enclosure providing a varied and natural habitat for the newly-formed herd.
Following 12 months of elephant-led training and meticulous planning by the Twycross conservation team, the elephant was safely transported to the seaside resort in a specially created giant steel crate.
It was loaded onto a lorry for the 127-mile journey to Blackpool.
A spokesman for the zoo said: "Minbu has kept us on our toes throughout her entire training, but she amazed us all! She worked to perfection, doing exactly what we hoped of her.
"She's always been one for spotting the smallest changes and knowing when something is different. But we kept the whole morning to her normal routine as much as we could, to keep her as calm and co-operative ahead of her journey.
"During the time spent moving the crate onto the lorry, Minbu remained calm and responded well to her personal zoo trainer and keeper, Laura.
"Once the crate was safely positioned and secured to the low loader lorry, transporting her to Blackpool Zoo, a heater and thermometer was installed to keep Minbu warm as well as cameras so the keepers and vet team could check on her throughout the journey.
"It only took a few hours to get to Blackpool Zoo where the whole elephant team there warmly welcomed us. They helped us transport the crate into position and finally open the gate for Minbu to explore. It was amazing to see how confidently Minbu walked into her new home – it was like she had been there before.
"Once she had started to get used to her surroundings, she was given access to another area which allowed her to see Tara again as well as her new housemate Kate. All of their first reactions were very minimal, they were all watching each other through the enclosure but weren't getting too close.
There wasn't much trumpeting for us to hear, but we're sure there was plenty of ultrasonic vocalising going on. This is a great first reaction and we hope the positivity continues.
"Over the past few months, faecal samples have been passed between both zoos to get the Twycross Zoo elephants used to Kate's scent and vice-versa – it's not the first time they've all smelled each other.
"It was so hard leaving Minbu behind, but knowing the move went so well and that she's already started to settle in really helps our mixed emotions.
"Our two elephants still at Twycross, Esha and mum Noorjahan, are getting on well with two less elephants in their herd, but it won't be too long until they’re all reunited once again."
What is Project Elephant?
The elephants' new home, Project Elephant, is a new multi-million pound specially designed three-acre enclosure at Blackpool Zoo, which will provide a varied and natural habitat for the newly formed herd.
The Twycross elephants' home boasts a number of elephant-friendly features including a 2.5-acre landscaped paddock populated with trees and natural shrubbery, a deep outdoor pool where the elephants can submerge and a water cannon for hot summer days.
Inside the house itself there is soft ground with deep sand and rubber, hanging bundles of food, heaters to mimic the temperature of the elephants' natural home range, more tree stumps and an indoor rain machine which uses recycled water.
The herd will also have 24-hour access to the outdoor spaces, so they can walk around and interact socially with each other as they please.