Negev to Get Elephant Park

Kibbutz Nahal Oz and the Tourism Ministry are planning a NIS 6 million elephant park in the agricultural areas near the kibbutz.

Details of the wildlife park, which hopes to open in 2008 to 400,000 annual visitors were revealed for the first time yesterday during a tour of the southern region by Tourism Ministry director general Nahum Itzkovich.

Between 20 to 30 female Asian elephants will roam the park freely. Females are considered more friendly to people than males. Visitors will also be able to ride the elephants.

The kibbutz wants to interest an outside investor in the project, too. The ministry's plan is to for the park serve as an anchor for other tourist enterprises. It will be designed as an Asian jungle, and is based on a similar attraction on the island of Bali in Indonesia.