Chester city centre will be welcoming a heavyweight new arrival come the New Year.
Taking centre stage at a proposed site near Barclays Bank will be a bronze elephant calf, donated to the city by Chester Zoo.
The 1m tall elephant elephant – created by Hampshire-based sculptress Annette Yarrow – mirrors the bronze elephant calf that resides near the main entrance of the 110-acre zoo.
The female calf was gifted by the zoo to the city to demonstrate the links between the award-winning attraction and Chester itself.
Alasdair McNee, Corporate Director for Chester Zoo, said: “The bronze elephant at our main entrance has been a huge draw for visitors young and old and is a welcoming focal point in the zoo, a place for photographs to be taken and memories to be created.
“We wanted to bring some of that experience to the city centre and to demonstrate the strong links between Chester and its famous zoo.
“Visitors to the city will be able to enjoy the same experience and hopefully it will entice them to come and explore and experience the world-class zoo and conservation organisation on Chester’s doorstep.
“Chester Zoo is a mix of conservation breeding but also a family day out and the elephant calf is symbolic of this.”
The zoo has been working closely with Chester Renaissance, which is looking after the installation and interpretation for the city’s new attraction. The two organisations are also working together on the city’s Rhino Mania project.
Rita Waters, Chief Executive of Chester Renaissance, said: “This sculpture will be a wonderful addition to the city. There is a natural and powerful link between the city and the zoo and I am delighted that this sculpture will the forerunner to creating this link, ahead of the exciting Rhino Mania summer installation.”
Cllr Richard Short, the Council’s Executive Member for Recreation and Culture is delighted with this addition to the city. He said: “Having a beautiful and imposing sculpture in the city will create a point of interest for our many visitors and become another draw to the city.”
Renowned sculptress Annette, who also crafted the zoo’s bronze elephant, has drawn on her experience of growing up in India to create the new addition. Her painstaking work-in-progress should be in place in the early part of 2010.