A new Bobcat T590 compact track loader has been purchased for use in the new Project Elephant development at Blackpool Zoo, in the very popular seaside resort of Blackpool in the north of England. Project Elephant is the next phase in the ongoing development of the Zoo and the largest single investment it has ever made, increasing its overall footprint by a further three acres and providing a new home for elephants that secures their future at the Zoo.
Supplied by Wigan-based Norwest Plant Ltd, the Authorised Bobcat and Doosan dealer for North-West England and North Wales, the low ground pressure and stability of the tracked undercarriage on the new T590 has provided the perfect solution for working on the deep fine sand that covers much of the floor surface of the new elephant enclosure.
Until the T590 was demonstrated, finding the right machine for the job had proved to be a tricky problem for the Zoo’s Head Keeper, Luke Minns and Head of Section for Mammals, Adam Kenyan. Unlike the competitors’ machines which failed the task because they buried themselves in the sand, the Bobcat T590 performed effortlessly and with great results. As well as the elephant enclosure, the combination of the T590 with several new Bobcat attachments such as a skeleton bucket, pallet forks and a hay bale spike purchased from Norwest Plant, forms a powerful and versatile tool to be utilised throughout the zoo.
Luke Minns commented: “It had to be a tracked machine due to the sand floors in the elephant house which need to be groomed every day. The build quality, size of the machine and the versatility proved that the T590 was a winning combination for the zoo’s requirements.”
Norwest’s Garry Wheawall undertook the demonstration of the T590 at Blackpool Zoo and he said: “The demo proved the Bobcat T590 was 100% the machine for the job. There were a number of people from Blackpool Zoo and some from other zoos at the demo and all were impressed.”
Garry went on to explain: “A number of the zoo staff tried out the machine and liked the operation and how simple it was to use. The machine ran well in the fine sand, manoeuvring up and down slopes and levelling off the sand with ease.”
Luke Minns commented on the simple operation of the new Bobcat T590 tracked loader: “I’m very impressed with the build quality and ease of use for the operators who have varying skill levels. Cleaning out the elephant house and grooming the sand is so much more efficient with the Bobcat machine and I personally like the individual access codes for operators which saves a lot of form filling!”
The T590 at Blackpool Zoo is equipped with an optional Deluxe Control panel which offers keyless ignition starting and a keycode security system which as well as deterring theft, provides up to eight users with their own 10-figure keycode to start the machine and allows the zoo to monitor and record the operation of the track loader.
Luke Minns added: “The machine will be used for hay and straw unloading, feed deliveries and moving animal crates, grounds work in the animal paddocks and clearing out animal bedding as well as maintenance work around the Zoo grounds.”
Project Elephant is a state-of-the-art facility that has been built to house a breeding herd of Asian Elephants, which are endangered in the wild and are probably one of the most iconic zoo species across the world.
Asian elephants have been in residence at Blackpool Zoo since it opened in 1972, when Kate and the late Crumple arrived as young elephants from an orphanage in Sri Lanka. 47-year-old Kate is now the only elephant at the zoo and she has recently moved from the old elephant enclosure to her new home in Project Elephant and has settled in well to her new living arrangements.
Early next year, Project Elephant is set to become home to a herd of Asian elephants from Twycross Zoo. Four females, who currently reside in the Leicestershire zoo, will be moving to Blackpool after months of behind the scenes work with experts from the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) and Twycross Zoo’s team of specialists to secure the future of these magnificent animals.
The elephant enclosure has been specially designed around the complex welfare needs of the elephants and will feature a raised indoor viewing platform for visitors. Externally, the public will enjoy unobstructed views of the elephants in their large paddock, which includes the sanded area complete with a bathing pool and a landscaped grass field.
Bobcat Compact Track Loaders
In a host of applications in construction, landscaping, forestry, agriculture, disaster relief and many other areas, there are no other machines that offer the combination of versatility and productivity than that provided by the Bobcat T590 and the rest of the company’s compact track loader range. This is due to their unique characteristics as tool carriers and the wide array of attachments that they can work with, from trenchers, augers, graders, soil conditioners, scarifiers and dozer blades to more specialist attachments such as forestry cutters and stump grinders.
In the Bobcat range, there is a choice of size and boom configurations – radial and vertical lift path models – similar to those in the company’s market-leading wheeled skid-steer range. There are various options for Bobcat rubber tracks with multiple tread patterns available, so that the performance of track loaders can be optimised by selecting a track that exactly matches the application.