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Twycross Zoo

D-Drill get a trunk call

A trip to Twycross Zoo had a whole new meaning for a Midlands firm.

Alan Moore from diamond drilling and sawing firm D-Drill (Master Drillers) Ltd in Shilton near Coventry was assigned the task of creating four feeding holes for the zoo’s five elephants at their habitat.

The four female elephants plus 15-month-old baby elephant Ganesh -Vijay can now reach hay through the man-made holes at the popular tourist attraction in Burton Road, Atherstone.

Mary Rodger, marketing executive at Twycross Zoo, said the elephants had been intrigued to know what was going on.

“Four holes have been drilled through a concrete wall as part of our Enrichment Programme,” she said.

“We have sand interior to soften the ground and it makes it a more natural environment within our elephant house, but with the hay on the floor, they ingest more sand with their hay than we’d like. The new holes will allow the hay to be racked off the floor, whilst simultaneously adding to their enrichment by encouraging them to stretch through the holes to reach the hay.

“While work was underway, we moved the elephants into their outdoor enclosure but their curiosity at the noise caused them great interest at what was happening inside.

“We try to carry out the majority of our maintenance work during the winter months when it is quieter so that it causes the least amount of disruption to the animals and our visitors.”

Alan, who is a diamond driller technician at D-Drill, said the day-long work was among his more unusual jobs that he has carried out.

“It was a fun job because I was at the zoo,” he said. “We didn’t have any contact with the elephants because there was a metal door between us.

“We were worried about scaring the elephants because of the noise of the Hydrostress diamond drilling machine. We have noise protectors for our ears but they don’t so the animals had to be kept away so they didn’t get distressed.

“Everything went absolutely fine. It was quite hard to get through the wall because there was a stanchion in the way which hindered the drilling but we managed to get over that and achieve what the customer required.

“We kept everything clean by washing the area down and vacuuming some of the debris away so there was no dirt and the elephants can now enjoy tucking into their hay in peace and quiet.”

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