AN EXOTIC animals specialist from Chester has found a new home for Anne the circus elephant who hit the national headlines after being abused by a worker.
Ex-Upton High School student Jonathan Cracknell has secured a place for 59-year-old Anne at Longleat Safari Park, Wiltshire, where he is the new director of animal operations.
Yesterday he was spending his first full day with Anne as she acclimatises to her new environment following a terrible ordeal at the hands of a circus worker secretly filmed beating her with a pitchfork.
She had been in the Bobby Roberts Super Circus for more than 50 years but was no longer making public appearances.
Jonathan, 34, a trained veterinary anaesthetist, said: “Anne is a geriatric elephant coming towards the end of her life and we’re trying to do what we can to see she lives out her retirement in peace.”
He added: “The accommodation we already have meets her short-term needs – and longterm, we are committed to building her a modern elephant house and introducing other rescued elephants, if that is in Anne’s best interests.”
He added: “Elephants are very much like humans when it comes to their psychological needs.
“Some elephants can suffer problems like post-traumatic stress disorder and we have to be careful not to do anything that would be detrimental to her well-being.”
Jonathan had wanted to be a vet since the age of nine. At Upton High, he had the opportunity to do work experience at nearby Chester Zoo.
He trained for 14 years to gain his veterinary qualifications and has worked with elephants in Africa and with bears in China and India.