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Elephant not forgotten

Never forget Duchess (image curtesy: Paignton Zoo)

Paignton memorial planned

An elephant who lived in Devon for more than 40 years before passing away this summer is to be remembered with a permanent memorial.

'Duchess', an African breed, collapsed at Paignton Zoo in July and died soon afterwards. Partially blind, she was the last remaining elephant in the county, after her friend, an Asian species called Gay, died some years ago. 

Now the zoo has established a fund to create a lasting tribute to Duchess. Spokesperson Phil Knowling says: “The enormous, immediate and heartfelt public response prompted us to think about how we should remember her. Duchess was here for over 40 years; she was the matriarch of Paignton Zoo.

“We’re going to invite artists to submit ideas for designs. We’re launching a public crowdfunding campaign so that people can contribute to and feel part of the project. We’re putting together a panel of people, including keepers who knew Duchess better than anyone, to choose a suitable design and location for the memorial.

“We hope we can make it interactive and thoroughly touchable, and that we can tie in conservation and advocacy, perhaps through the use of recycled materials. There are all sorts of possibilities.

The Virgin Money Giving page is: If more money is raised through donations than is needed, then the surplus will be channelled into the charity’s conservation project in Nigeria, where elusive forest elephants roam the Omo Forest Reserve.

In addition, there will be a memorial plaque in the gallery of the large mammal house. Monumental masons Allwood of Totnes have ] donated a granite tablet for it.


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