Hitachi Construction Machinery


A new lease of life for Europe’s elephants and a Hitachi excavator

July 31, 2017

Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME) is donating a used mini excavator to the first elephant sanctuary in Europe. The 70-acre rural site in southwest France will offer rehabilitation for both Asian and African elephants from zoos and circuses.

The ZX38U-5 will play a vital part in preparing the facilities at Elephant Haven, which was founded in 2012. Scheduled for delivery in September of this year, it will initially be required to build fences, dig trenches and create mud pools. In addition, it will be used to excavate trees around a barn that will house the elephants, the first of which are due to arrive in 2018.

The short-tail swing model is also needed to maintain the sand boxes in the barn and make sand piles on which the elephants can sleep. It will also be used to move tree trunks and logs, and maintain streams and mud pools on the site.

Powerful and versatile

The versatile mini excavator is ideal for the work required at the sanctuary. It can be fitted with a range of attachments, which makes it suitable for the wide variety of tasks. Designed to be fast, powerful and fuel-efficient, it is also user-friendly and easy to maintain.

Founders of Elephant Haven, Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur, are looking forward to its arrival on site. “As a non-profit organisation, we depend on donations and sponsorship, and hugely appreciate the generosity of organisations such as HCME,” says Sofie. “The excavator will be used for several purposes, both in the short and long term – it’s an essential part of our project.”

As a growing number of European countries are banning wild animals in circuses, the demand for places at the sanctuary will increase over the coming years. “There are more than 100 elephants in circuses across Europe,” says Tony. “Sending them back to their country of origin isn’t always possible. We want to offer them a place where they can spend the rest of their days in comfort – an elephant can live to between 60 and 80 years old.”

Currently being prepared at the HCME factory in Oosterhout, the ZX38U-5 will be a certified Premium Used machine when it is delivered to Elephant Haven. More details on the machine’s journey and the project’s progress will follow soon on the dedicated blog.

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