Blackpool Zoo’s new popcorn machine to feed elephants, gorillas and orangutans

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Within an hour over a kilo of the freshly made treat was being delivered to the apes and elephants.

 

Sunny Sandwell from The Fun Experts with Lauren Shields from Blackpool Zoo
Sunny Sandwell from The Fun Experts with Lauren Shields from Blackpool Zoo (Image: Blackpool Zoo)

A new popcorn machine has been introduced into Blackpool Zoo to provide a faster way to deliver the healthy treat to apes and elephants.

When keepers at Blackpool Zoo introduced popcorn into the diet of the animals it soon became apparent that it would take a lot of work to keep up with their mammoth appetites.

It was taking around two days to make a kilo of plain popcorn, which, in turn, takes the animals just seconds to wolf down, so they called out to the Lancashire business community to ask for help.

Preston-based The Fun Experts, a nationwide provider of event equipment, immediately stepped forward to donate a traditional popcorn machine and a starter pack of supplies.

The machine was delivered along with a mini crash course in the art of popcorn making. Within the hour, over a kilo of the freshly made treat was being delivered to the apes and elephants.

George Louhisalo and Sunny Sandwell from The Fun Experts with Lauren Shields from Blackpool Zoo
George Louhisalo and Sunny Sandwell from The Fun Experts with Lauren Shields from Blackpool Zoo (Image: Blackpool Zoo)

Lauren Shields, large mammal keeper at Blackpool Zoo, said she was delighted with the new popcorn machine.

Lauren said: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to add healthy options to the menu for our animals and following research and advice we introduced popcorn to our herd of six elephants, six gorillas and four orangutans.

“That meant that we needed to source a cost-effective option to make it, but it soon became apparent that the microwave wasn’t the best solution.

“We explained our predicament to our marketing team and they called The Fun Experts – who immediately agreed to donate a popcorn making machine.

“Not only does it massively cut down the time and electricity it takes to make the popcorn, but because it’s a traditional popcorn making machine, it reminds me of walking down the Promenade in Blackpool on a sunny day.

“Within minutes the entire elephant house smells delicious, which attracted the attention of our herd, as well as a lot of keepers, who were all delighted with our new, more environmentally friendly machine. I would like to thank the Fun Experts for their very kind donation, it will make a massive difference to our days.”

Sunny Sandwell, Director of Fun at the Fun Experts, added: “It was our absolute pleasure to donate one of our popcorn machines to the zoo and we had a wonderful time when we delivered it. The zoo, like The Fun Experts, were particularly hard hit by the pandemic, so it is fantastic to be able to get back to normality and work on projects like this.

“We loved seeing the elephants enjoying their treat too, so that was an added bonus to the day.”