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Princess Royal opens new elephant habitat in Stirlingshire

image captionPrincess Anne was given a tour of the new elephant habitat at Blair Drummond Safari Park

A Stirlingshire safari park's new home for three elderly African elephants has been officially opened by the Princess Royal.

Princess Anne was given a guided tour of Mondula, Toto and Estrella's new habitat at Blair Drummond Safari Park.

The elephants, all in their 40s, have been residents at the park since 1997.

Their new home includes a computer-controlled feeding system, allowing the elephants to eat food over a 24-hour period.

Princess Anne was given a tour of their new home, which they moved into in October.

She also unveiled a plaque, covered with an animal feed bag, to mark the official opening.

Different ceremony

Gary Gilmour, park manager, said: "It went really well and all the staff were extremely proud to welcome Her Royal Highness here today.

"She was very interested. I suppose it's slightly different from the usual type of opening ceremony she might be involved in.

"She was really knowledgeable and asked staff lots of questions. She seemed really interested in all the work we are doing here."

The safari park said it is dedicated to providing a retirement space for dysfunctional elephants, which led it to undertake its largest-ever construction project in the park's 43-year history.

Building work, which was carried out by local businesses, took 18 months, with the living area for the elephants being developed and built by the park's own engineer.

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