The last three elephants at Twycross Zoo are packing their trunks - but there's still chance to get a glimpse of them before they leave for a new life in Blackpool.

Animal lovers have time to visit the Leicestershire zoo's trio of female elephants, Minbu, Noorjahan and Esha, before they head off to Blackpool Zoo as part of a breeding programme.

A departure date for the elephants is yet to be confirmed, but experts at the zoo say visitors can still see them for the time being.

Another Twycross elephant, Tara, has already left and is now settling into her new home at Blackpool Zoo as part of Project Elephant, which is aimed at increasing numbers of the endangered species.

In Blackpool there is a specially designed three-acre enclosure providing a varied and natural habitat for the newly-formed herd.

Minbu, Noorjahan and Esha are set to leave Twycross Zoo

Following 12 months of elephant-led training and meticulous planning by the Twycross conservation team, Tara was safely transported to the seaside resort in a specially created giant steel crate for transporting elephants, which weigh from 2.25 to 5.5 tonnes. It was loaded onto a lorry for the 127-mile journey to Blackpool.

The move means there will be no elephants left at Twycross Zoo, which lies 20 miles from Burton on the A444.

Asian elephants are one of the largest land mammals on the planet but the species is currently threatened in the wild by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation leading to them being listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

As a result, Asian elephant populations have declined by at least 50 per cent in the last three generations.

It is hoped the all-female herd from Tywcross will breed with the male elephants at Blackpool. Twycross Zoo experts are hoping to make the celebrated species thrive again through the breeding project, said a spokesman for the zoo.

Asian elephants can live up to 60 years and are slightly smaller than their African cousins.

Dr Sharon Redrobe, Twycross Zoo's chief executive, has previously said: "Our girls will only go when they are ready, and so our visitors can be sure to see them for a little while yet.

The elephants at Twycross Zoo are heading to Blackpool Zoo

"When they do all move we know they are going to be very well looked after by the Blackpool Zoo team. As for their enclosure, it's a large site so we will look to redevelop but can't plan the next phase until our girls are safely in their new home."

Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10am to 5pm and more information is available by visiting or calling 0844 4741777.

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' new home boasts a number of elephant-friendly features including a 2.5-acre landscaped paddock populated with trees and natural shrubbery, and a deep outdoor pool where the elephants can submerge, plus 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 outdoor spaces, so they can walk around and interact socially with each other.

Facts about Twycross Zoo

There are currently 2,699 individual animals who call the zoo their home.

There are 153 different species, of which 35 are invertebrates.

There are currently 158 individual primates across 30 species – including the apes.

The zoo has welcomed 56 babies born in 2016.

There are countless ants in the toilets so they are just counted as one colony.

The zoo it built on an 88 acre site.

The zoo was founded in 1963.

In total the team welcomes roughly around 500,000 visitors a year.

There are some animals that have to eat their own faeces, such as capybara/rabbits as it forms a natural process and is a requirement for them to receive their correct nutrients.

Twycross is the only place in the UK where visitors can see all four types of great ape (gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo).

It is also the only zoo in the UK to house bonobos.