During 2014, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol, UK, celebrated the arrival of two very special new inhabitants. Already home to a vast array of species, the zoo has welcomed Buta and Janu – two magnificent African elephants - to their impressive menagerie. To help manage the health of these gentle giants, the zoo has installed weighing equipment from Avery Weigh-Tronix.
The newly built ‘Elephant Eden’ offers its two new inhabitants an enclosure which has been identified as having international importance. With 80,000 sq metres of ambling space, a swimming pool, hot and cold showers, automated night time feeding and a central heating system, the luxurious elephant paradise definitely lives up to its name.
Weight data vital to wellbeing
When dealing with animals of crucial conservation status, ensuring the comfort and health of those in captivity is absolutely vital. To help to manage the well-being of Buta and Janu, it is essential that the zoo closely monitors the elephants’ weight.
Sandra de Rek, head Elephant keeper at the zoo, explained, “As with all animals, monitoring the weight of the elephants can give vital insight into their general health and wellbeing. The new floor scale has been built into the elephant enclosure between the barn and the field, which means that they walk over the scale numerous times on a daily basis.”
Sandra continued, “The elephants are weighed every day and we plot the information on a monthly basis, which allows us to identify trends and sudden weight loss or gain. As well as helping to identify possible health issues, the weight information is very important for many aspects of day to day care; from establishing how much medication the elephants might need; to monitoring pregnant females or the weight of calves.”
By placing the scale permanently within the elephant enclosure, the keepers could ensure it became part of their daily routine, minimising set-up time and ensuring that the elephants – known to be routine loving animals – had minimal disruption.
IP69K indicator and floor scale, suited to heavy washdown
To achieve this, Noah’s Ark Farm needed a scale and weight indicator that could withstand the rigours of heavy daily use and regular pressure washing. The heavy duty floor scale provided an ideal solution, offering a non-slip but easy to clean surface which could be and fitted flush with the floor. The overload protection offered by the scale also ensures that the load-sensors are protected from the kind of sudden load that an animal which can reach up to 7 tons might inflict on the scale. The addition of a weight indicator with an IP69K rating gave complete assurance that the pressure and heat of water used for wash-down would not affect the accuracy of the equipment.
As well as monitoring the weight of the elephants, the zoo also uses the floor scale to weigh hay bales and food such as bags of carrots –which in turn enables them to monitor usage and more effectively manage inventory.
Sandra concluded, “Monitoring the weight of the elephants is incredibly important to the ongoing health of these incredible creatures. This scale has provided an ideal solution to deliver the data we need.”