Elephants & Linseed - Our trip to Howletts Zoo

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The Linseed Farm is used to dealing with sizeable orders – but on Wednesday (August 20) a herd of African elephants in Kent will become our ‘biggest’ customers yet.

The Linseed Farm is used to dealing with sizeable orders – but on Wednesday (August 20) a herd of African elephants in Kent will become our ‘biggest’ customers yet.

We are due to make a special delivery of 25 litres of home-pressed oil as a christening present to celebrate the 13-strong herd’s newest arrival.

Not-so-little Mirembe, the 22nd to be born at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Bekesbourne near Canterbury, weighed in at a healthy 150kg when she joined mum Tammi and 11-foot-tall, 6100kg, proud dad Jums in June.

The herd – the largest in the UK – consumes about a litre of linseed oil a day, but little Mirembe, will have to wait until she’s on solid food before she gets a taste.

About two years ago I came across a black and white picture of an elephant called Hango being oiled with linseed at London Zoo in 1936. A copy of the picture is one of my favourite exhibits in the Linseed and Flax Museum at the farm - which I use to tell the story of linseed.

I don’t usually recommend our customers bathe in the oil, but I do know that when I eat it every day the high levels of omega 3 in linseed helps keep my skin smooth and supple.

Elephants cannot bathe in the winter so I understand keepers used to knead their tough skin with rags soaked in linseed oil. Nowadays it’s added to captive elephants’ daily ration to keep them healthy – so they’re very similar to us from that point of view.

It was great to see and meet the new baby Mirembe. Our christening present is a 25 litre barrel of The Linseed Farm’s linseed oil - enough for all the elephants.

I would like to thank Howletts’ head elephant keeper Natalie Boye for a truly amazing experience.

Durwin Banks

Durwin Banks
The Linseed Farm

Elephants & Linseed - Our trip to Howletts Zoo