Paignton Zoo Environmental Park in United Kingdom


Paignton Zoo Environmental Park
Gay & Duchess. Paignton Zoo 08/2008. Photo: © Darren Smith
Gay & Duchess. Paignton Zoo 08/2008. Photo: © Darren Smith

Typezoo

OwnerThe Wild Planet Trust
First elephant arrived1949
Last elephant left2022
Address Totnes Road
Zip-code TQ4 7EU
Place Paignton, Devon
Country United Kingdom
Website Website

Directors: Simon Tonge (director)

Key People

Veterinarians

Elephant department

Head keepers
of elephants
-: Jim Dicks
(elephant head-keeper)

Elephant keepers -: Marc Johnson
-: Katie Cockram

Duchess the African elephant was a popular resident of Paignton Zoo

Duchess the African elephant was a popular resident of Paignton Zoo

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Description

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, located at Totnes Road, in Paignton, Devon, United Kingdom and the first elephant arrived in 1949. The last elephant left in 2022.


Comments / picturesThe Paignton Zoo received their two elephants, Duchess and Gay, from Longleat Safari in 1977.

In April 2005, the zoo began separating the pair at night after Gay suffered a tusk injury overnight from Duchess.

2022: Paignton Zoo announces it will no longer be home to elephants.


An elephant never forgets, or so they say, and nobody who visited Paignton Zoo during the time Duchess and Gay lived there will ever forget the two veteran pachyderms. Even before Duchess died in 2019, the zoo had pledged not to keep elephants any more, once the last of the grand old ladies had gone.

Elephants have complex needs, and the days of keeping them behind bars at zoos have long since passed. So Duchess and Gay were able to live out their lives with the best of care from their keepers and the love of legions of zoo visitors.

Both elephants arrived at Paignton Zoo from Longleat Safari Park in 1977. Asian elephant Gay was born in 1970 and had been with Fossett’s Circus in Ireland before her move to Longleat. She was put to sleep in 2010 due to chronic illness.

Duchess was an African elephant, and had been taken from the wild in the early 1970s. She was found collapsed in her enclosure at age of 49, and was also put to sleep.

The Wild Planet Trust, which runs Paignton Zoo, has not stopped working to support elephant Conservation, however. It has been working with a forest reserve in Nigeria for 25 years, one of the last remaining places in the country where forest elephants still survive.

References for records about Paignton Zoo Environmental Park

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan (2021). Paignton Zoo Environmental Park, Elephant Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=372. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:



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