Expert John in mission of mercy to help Brtain’s oldest elephant

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ONE of Doncaster’s best-known animal experts was drafted in to help move a former circus elephant to its new home.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park animals director John Minion was asked to help transport the elephant, called Anne, to safety at her new retirement home.

The 59-year-old elephant is set to start a new life at Longleat Safari Park.

Specialist Wildlife Services contacted Mr Minion, who is one of only a few elephant experts in the country experienced at care and movement of the breed, to oversee the move of what is described as Britain’s oldest elephant from Northampton to her new retirement home.

John works at the Doncaster-based Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Branton, and his previous work has included moving a pride of lions to Doncaster.

“It was an absolute pleasure to be asked to help Anne. I’d give up my time at the drop of a hat to help any animal in despair,” said John.

“Thankfully, she travelled superbly considering her age.”

The decision was reached to re-home Anne after a coalition of animal welfare groups came together to ask for her to move.

An independent vet gave the go-ahead for the Asian elephant to begin her 150-mile journey to the 900-acre estate, and John organised the move.

There had been concerns that she would not be fit to travel due to suffering arthritis.

“As a circus elephant, Anne had moved so many times in her previous life that she was an absolute trooper during the journey,” added John.

“I am looking forward to seeing her condition improve at her new home, now that she has been given the opportunity to live in safe, secure, comforting surroundings, which is no less than she deserves.”