A taste of the East comes to Blackpool Zoo
A taste of the east has arrived at Blackpool Zoo after phase one of its biggest and most ambitious development opened on Saturday 1st April.
Project Elephant is a multi-million pound scheme that will see one of the UK’s largest indoor elephant facilities built on vacant land at the zoo, opening up an additional three acres to visitors.
The new eatery, which is located at the entrance to Project Elephant, has been named Nawala Street Food after a street in Sri Lanka where one of the zoo’s nominated charities, the Biodiversity Elephant Conservation Trust (BECT), is based.
It is serving a smorgasbord of oriental and Indian culinary delights after three new members of staff underwent cookery training from Chef Chan from Asia King.
Sizzling stir-fried noodles and rice, scrumptious sweet and sour dishes, creamy curries, spicy samosas and lots of vegetarian options will be available throughout the summer season.
The building and outdoor eating area has been beautifully themed with an incredible hand painted mural that was designed by art students from Blackpool Sixth Form College and created with the help of local street artist David Healy.
Sias Delport, Commercial Manager at Blackpool Zoo, said: “As Project Elephant continues to take massive strides towards completion I am delighted to unveil phase one – Nawala Street Food.
“It has been named in honour of a charity that we have raised more than £25,000 for, BECT, which we will continue to raise awareness of through Project Elephant here at Blackpool Zoo.
“We wanted to further extend our food offering to our visitors, who come from across the UK and overseas to see our beautiful residents.
“Of course, we can buy all the correct ingredients but it is important that the staff understand the proper cooking methods, so were delighted to welcome Chef Chan from our supplier Asia King for training.
“As the weather continues to warm up and the Easter Holidays get into full swing, we look forward seeing people enjoying great food as part of their fabulous day out!”
The Biodiversity and Elephant Conservation Trust is an organisation that helps to protect Asian elephants that live in Sri Lanka.
Over the last 100 years the Asian elephant population has declined by 90% to less than 50,000 elephants, with only 4,000-5,000 remaining in Sri Lanka.
The magnificent creatures are now classified as endangered (IUCN) and the decline in its numbers has been a result of threats including habitat loss as a result of logging and agriculture, domestication for tourism and logging, human-elephant conflict and hunting for their body parts, particularly their tusks.
BECT aims to educate, inform and change people’s attitudes towards elephants.
Ground broke on Project Elephant in late 2016 and the development is currently on schedule to open in summer this year.
The indoor area, which has been specially designed around the complex welfare need of the mammoth species, will feature a raised viewing platform, meaning visitors can come face to face with the impressive residents.
Externally, the public will enjoy unobstructed views of the elephants in their huge paddock, which will include a sanded area complete with bathing pool and a landscaped grass field.