Leighton firm Garside Sands played a jumbo role in supplying a key component for the new £2m Centre for Elephant Care at Whipsnade Zoo.
Officially opened in a grand ceremony on April 11 by The Queen, the centre has been custom-designed and constructed by Sutton Construction to provide a luxurious indoor living space for the zoo’s largest residents.
Set amidst 20-acres of rolling paddocks, the centre features a number of special elephant-friendly features – including 957 tonnes of natural sand to provide a one-metre deep soft sand flooring for maximum comfort.
Having worked with Aggregate Industries for a number of years, the business’ Garside Sands division was the natural first choice for Milton-Keynes based Sutton Construction.
The Garside team, based in Grovebury Road, were able to fulfil the requirement for a large quantity of natural sand with high silica content for durability and cleanliness. As a further benefit, the sand chosen is self-draining, helping to eradicate animal urine and optimise hygiene measures.
Now complete, the result is a comfortable, safe dwelling place for the zoo’s nine-strong herd of Asian elephants which includes nine-month-old baby Elizabeth. Born just before HM The Queen’s official 90th birthday celebrations, zookeepers named the female calf in honour of Her Majesty.
Clive Martin, commercial manager at Garside Sands, commented: “With traditional zoological landscaping supplies of this nature, the choice of sand has an important part to play, both in helping the animals feel at home but also creating a safe, sturdy environment which can withstand outdoor conditions.
“As a business with a wealth of experience in this field, we were thrilled to help ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in creating the perfect new dwelling place for its elephant residents.”
Owen Craft, General Manager at Whipsnade Zoo, said: “Our new Centre for Elephant Care has been designed and created to represent ZSL’s commitment to providing the best home for our Asian elephant herd. It was therefore vital to ensure we had a sand specialist that could not only provide such a large quantity of sand within a short time-frame, but deliver the high quality level of sand that is required to provide the elephants with optimum comfort.”
Garside Sands’ range of natural silica sands have a high silica content, typically above 90 per cent, making the sand hard-wearing with low attrition rates, a ‘sub-angular to rounded’ grain shape and a naturally occurring colour range from white through to yellow and brown.
Garside’s sands are washed and technically graded from a variety of coarse, medium-coarse, medium-fine, fine, and very fine sands, and can also be mixed with a range of soils and peats to create landscape and divot mixes.
For further information about Garside Sands visit www.aggregate.com