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Waste not, want not! Beechwood Park School has continued an innovative recycling initiative with Whipsnade Zoo by sending unwanted tree branches to the Asian elephants.

Last week, a team from nearby ZSL Whipsnade Zoo came to Beechwood to collect oak and other branches recently chopped by our Estates Team, to take back to feed the herd of Asian elephants at the zoo.

We were all delighted to receive photos from the Elephant House later that day showing the resident Asian elephants enthusiastically tucking into a mouth-watering collection of branches from the School.

The various branches had been accumulated as a result of recent tree lopping in the School grounds and the Beechwood Park Grounds Team will continue to work with Whipsnade on this mutually beneficial recycling initiative.

Whipsnade’s herd of Asian elephants enjoy a variety of branches, and according to their keeper, their favourites include beech, oak, apple and cherry.

Set amidst 30 acres of rolling paddocks, Whipsnade’s Asian elephants enjoy a custom-designed Centre for Elephant Care. which includes over 700m² of indoor space and seven adjoining grass paddocks and was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2017. Asian elephants are classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and due to habitat loss, human conflict and poaching their wild populations are in decline.

In the wild, elephants spend sixteen to eighteen hours feeding – consuming grasses, small plants, bushes, fruit, twigs, tree bark, and roots. Tree bark is a favourite food source for elephants. It contains calcium and roughage, which aids digestion. The School is very pleased to be able to help supplement the elephants’ diet in this way, and the pupils were thrilled to see recycling ‘in action’.

We look forward to continuing this initiative next time the trees need chopping back!

Find out more about the elephants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo here