We’re celebrating this week because we’ve just been granted planning permission to build a brand new, purpose designed house for Valli our Temple Elephant.
Valli has been with us since 1981, and for the last 30 years has been living next to the Shakti Temple, with her keeper Swami Karuna. We want to give her more space and make it more efficient to care for her.
It will be a truly jumbo-sized creation – 500 square metres of prime elephantine real estate.
Elephant friendly design features
We’re having to dig deep foundations, to accommodate the metre deep sandpits that make up large areas of the floor. Sand is the best surface for her feet and joints, (plus we can also bury bananas and pineapples for her to dig up – hours of fun!)
Elephants don’t sleep much at night; they prefer to doze during the day. Her new barn will give her more space to move around in the evenings and will have lots of luxuries like heated curvy walls (for leaning / dozing against), and knobbly tree trunks (for scratching those hard-to-reach places).
The main feature will be a waterfall and plunge pool, so she can also bathe whenever she wants. It will be an elephant house like no other!
We are doing all the excavation, drainage and preparation work ourselves, to help keep project costs to an absolute minimum. We are hoping to use local contractors to help with the construction, and we hope to have the project finished within the year.
Energy saving construction
We are using insulated concrete forms for the walls of Valli’s new barn. These are made from hollow polystyrene bricks; they stack up on each other just like Lego, so we can build a whole wall in a day. We then pump concrete into the bricks to make them strong.
This system has been very successful, firstly because it is so quick to erect, and secondly because the polystyrene provides good insulation to keep Valli warm during the cold winter months.
Watch the video of Valli moving in
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