Anne the circus elephant joined the party today as Longleat Safari Park unveiled a new mult-million pound development.
Dozens of exotic birds, meerkats, porcupines and a cuddly giant anteater explored their new enclosures, the Jungle Kingdom and Monkey Temple.
Dozens of Rainbow Lorikeets caused chaos as they leapt onto visitor’s heads and sipped from cups of nectar.
But the biggest star of the day was Anne, the 59-year-old elephant rescued from the circus, who was brought to Longleat on Saturday.
She was settling into her new life yesterday and enjoying her new enclosure, where she played with sand, rubbed against trees and played with a tyre and a ball.
Jon Cracknell, 34, director of Animal Operations at Longleat, said staff were doing everything they could to help her recover from her ordeal.
He said: ”We have worked together with a number of organisations to move mountains over the last couple of days to bring Anne to Longleat.
”Normally we move elephants over around six weeks but we took just four days to move Anne here.
”Anne is an exceptionally beautiful animal. She is a very special old lady.”
Ceawlin Thynn, 36, the eldest son of Lord Bath and heir to the Longleat Estate, added that he was proud to be able to offer Anne sanctuary.
He said: ”She seems extremely happy having been here for 24 hours. The difference is shown in the way she looks.
”We are extremely happy with how she has responded so far.”
The new animal enclosures, named Jungle Kingdom and Monkey Temple, have been designed to give kids the chance to get close to their new furry friends.
They were officially opened to the public just after 11am yesterday when Lord Bath, 78 cut a red ribbon outside the entrance to the Animal Kingdom.
Hundreds of excited young children and their parents who waited patiently throughout the ceremony rushed forward to explore the attractions and meet the animals.
Jungle Kingdom boasts the UK’s first walk-through meerkat enclosure, which allows onlookers to watch the creatures – as they look back at them.
The Animal Kingdom features overhead ropes where monkeys can swing and climb over the heads of delighted families.
Bosses at the 9,000 acre estate have spent just six months building the £3 million attractions which they hope will bring crowds of customers to the park.
David Bradley, CEO of Longleat, said he hoped the two enclosures would ”move Longleat forward into the 21st century”.
How LOVELY that Anne has a new home where people obviously CARE for her. It would have been even more wonderful if it had happened a much longer time ago!