May 15, 2009
Ned was with us such a short time and now he is gone. When he crossed over there can be no doubt that he was in the company of his sister-elephant Bunny who passed away only 12 hours before him. Although these two deaths were unrelated on a physical level, on a deeper level they could not be more related. Ned passed away at 3:47am CT in the company of a caregiver. He passed without a struggle, just two deep breaths and a sigh and then he was gone. We feel cheated by the little time we had with Ned, but cherish every single moment we were allowed to care for and get to know this most amazing boy/man elephant known as Ned. We love you Ned, Namaste sweet boy.
May 14, 2009
Ned’s condition has worsened. He cannot rise and he has not eaten or drunk since he lay down on Wed morning. The fluids he is receiving are helping to keep him hydrated, but unless he finds the will to rise he will pass. He received antibiotics and steroids today which seemed to bring him more comfort. His pain meds are given at three hour intervals. We will continue our vigil.
May 13, 2009
Every day that Ned is with us is a gift, of that we are sure. To look upon his emaciated body, to know that no matter what he eats he experiences difficulty digesting and absorbing nutrients is difficult to do day after day. Every day feels like a stolen one for him. This morning when caregivers entered Ned’s barn, he was lying on his side on the floor in obvious discomfort. Throughout the day he was made comfortable with fluids, pain meds and anti-inflammatory. The vet team struggled to determine how to help Ned since his condition remains undiagnosed, so we tried to mask the pain and get him back on his feet. He remains under constant veterinary care and 24 hour caregiver’s supervision.
April 23, 2009
Ned continues to make us hopeful, eating steadily and enjoying this wonderful spring weather. He has adapted well to his special diet, developing a special liking for beet pulp and flaxseed. Of course, he still gets oatmeal and his assorted produce and as much hay as he will eat. Today he had some fun parading around with a fresh clump of hay on his handsome head.
April 11, 2009
Ned is doing well. He is finally consuming a normal amount of hay and continues to enjoy his banquet of produce, fruits and oatmeal. Recently he was introduced to beet pulp which he has not yet developed a consistent taste for, but he is working on it. His stools definitely look better, not perfect but better than we have seen for several weeks. He is basking in the sun and even took a short nap today in his pasture. His calm comfortable energy is a joy to experience.
March 29, 2009
Today was cold until late in the afternoon. Ned stayed inside except for about one hour when he stepped out into the sun. Today was a good day for Ned. His good days are beginning to outnumber his bad ones.
March 19, 2009
After four months we are no closer to knowing what ails Ned then we were on the day he arrived. Initially he gained weight but then he lost it again. Each new favorite food soon is rejected. One day he feels good, is active and calm, and the next day he seems stressed, irritable and unwell. Ned’s supporters and caregivers want answers, but so far we don’t have any.
Last week Ned lay down in his barn. When a caregiver entered he stayed down, which in Ned’s case was cause for concern. His veterinarians were summoned; both arrived in minutes. Ned had already gotten up onto his feet. He did not struggle or appear to be in pain, but the fact that he remained down with a caregiver walking around him was uncharacteristic. In our quest for Ned’s recovery, we have enlisted yet another specialist, a nutritionist who has recommended more changes to Ned’s diet. All we can do is listen to the experts and take it one day at a time.
Today at sunset Ned took a hike up the hill behind his barn. He spent nearly an hour foraging in the woods, eating hickory branches and newly sprouted grasses. We may not know what ails Ned, but we do know that he has a will to survive. We plan to do whatever we can to help him recover.
March 8, 2009
Ned has been enjoying a variety of new toys lately; this is one of his favorites because it is squishy and he can succeed at deflating it regularly!
March 6, 2009
Ned is enjoying this sunny day. He went out into his yard and made a bee-line for his hanging tire toy. He reached his trunk through the center of the toy; it looked like a giant lifesaver. He tugged on the tire and swung it around on his trunk for awhile and then stuck the entire thing into his mouth!!!! Later in the day he wandered down to the north end of his yard, found a jolly ball that was recently donated by an ele-fan and proceeded to throw and kick it around. Today was a great day for Ned and all of his ele-sisters!
February 8, 2009
For all of you who are dying to know….
Gracie arrived at the Sanctuary in October of 2008, via the window of a parked car in Columbia, TN. Yes, she was thrown from a car; luckily, the car was not moving. She was only about 8 weeks old. Her fall from the window left her howling in pain, limping around in a circle holding her left foot up in the air. A Sanctuary caregiver happened to be in the right place at the right time to rescue the pup. The person who dumped the pup was confronted, but showed no remorse for their actions. Their loss is Ned’s gain.
February 7, 2009
We have discovered an indoor game that Ned really enjoys….three-way throw, fetch and catch! Our newest canine rescue, Grace, has taken quite a liking to Ned… and his oatmeal! She waits patiently at Ned’s barn door at feeding time, prancing right in like she owns the place. Ned is not yet sure if he likes Grace but he is thinking about it. Today when a caregiver engaged Ned in a game of catch, Grace thought it was a three-way playtime and joined in. The caregiver tossed a knotted-up towel to Ned, which he immediately picked up and tossed back. This has been a game that Ned took to several weeks ago, but this time when Ned threw the towel back to the caregiver, Grace intercepted it and returned it to the caregiver herself, all smiles, tail wagging, excited to be included in the game. The caregiver retrieved the towel from Grace and tossed it back to Ned. After the slightest hesitation, while his trunk hovered over the towel obviously scented by dog licks, Ned gingerly picked up the toy and tossed it back to the caregiver. The game went on with Gracie intercepting each time Ned tossed the toy until Ned stopped throwing to the caregiver and appeared to be throwing the toy directly to the dog. Gracie was over the top with this personal attention from Ned and bounced around like a very happy puppy. Ned finally tired of the fun and tossed the toy to the side, his way of indicating that the game was over. The sparkle in his eyes said volumes.
February 6, 2009
Ned is doing great. These warm sunny days agree with him. He is eating well, loves his warmed oatmeal, consuming approximately 35 pounds of this nutritious supplement throughout the day and night. In addition to his daily dose of probiotic paste, which he willingly accepts each morning in cut up bananas, he also receives molasses and a natural yucca remedy to support his sensitive intestinal tract. Hopefully the warmer weather will find him outside more, exploring the woods and growing stronger.
January 19, 2009
Ned continues to be stable. Except for hay which he has free choice access to, all of his other food, fruits, veggies and oatmeal is given in small controlled quantities spread over the day and night. Right now he has access to four different grass hays, and if we keep rotating, he eats ok. He seems to benefit from the variety.
Since he has stopped experiencing abdominal discomfort, his mood has been exceptional. We have been trying to engage him in play behavior and although he does not play the way we have seen other elephants play, he is beginning to show signs of playful moments.
We feel like we are in limbo with Ned. He is not gaining weight but at this point he isn’t losing either. We have no projection regarding his recovery time; we are just keeping a close eye on him, and taking it one day at a time.
January 7, 2009
Ned is doing great! He has stabilized, enjoying his specialized meals, eating all of his oatmeal and today demonstrated that he has finally developed a taste for pedialite! He is eating his hay in a normal constant manner and remains calm and curious.
Meanwhile in the adjacent barn, Debbie has found her playful side. She discovered Minnie's suspended toy and spent a half hour bashing it around; she and Ronnie had a blast. Each time a caregiver appeared with the camera in-hand, Debbie would freeze like she thought she might be doing something wrong. But soon she was crashing around, showing off her athletic skills in full view of the video camera!
January 2, 2009
After 4 days of ignoring the home-cooked oatmeal that was added to Ned's diet...he finally ate it, and liked it!------party time!
January 1, 2009
Ned has been doing much better over the past few days. He has stabilized and seems to be feeling much better. His diet is now quite bland, but it seems to agree with him. Currently he is being fed smaller portions, spread throughout the day consisting of fruits and vegetables fed according to the proper food combination regime; fruits being fed first and separate from other foods. After he has digested the fruit, he is given a small portion of cooked oatmeal. He does not like the oatmeal yet, but we believe it is just a matter of time before he acquires a taste for it. The biggest change to his diet is the elimination of his regular grain. We suspect he has problems breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from the whole and processed grains. When different foods are combined, it makes it harder for his system to digest the foods. He has been eating his free choice hay in a constant steady manner and accepting his probiotics hidden inside pieces of fruit. Ned's diet is definitely back to the basics, which seems to agree with him.
December 25, 2008
We have found a remedy that Ned responds to very well. It is Merc-v and has an immediate calming effect on him whenever he appears to become a little agitated. Today, after he took a stroll around his yard, Ned spent most of the day in and out of his barn. Later in the evening he was found standing comfortably in his restraint chute. It is wonderful that he feels so comfortable in the chute. His distrust of the caregivers seems to have been replaced with curiosity. Now Ned reaches out gently to investigate his caregivers, whereas in the past he would lash out. Old habits are hard to break, especially when the habit is based in fear.
December 23, 2008
Ned is doing a little better. After a dose of Merc-V remedy which is used to remove sand from an animals gut, Ned was visibly more relaxed and began to eat a larger quantity of hay. His stools are still loose but we are taking this one hour, one day at a time. His fecal cultures came back negative and we have not seen him pass any sand. Since it has been cold, he is staying close or inside the barn and we are able to inspect all of his manure.
December 22, 2008
Ned has been consuming lots of fresh cut bamboo. Luckily we have a very large and healthy stand right here at the quarantine facility. We are pleased that he is eating bamboo because it is the most natural food source for Asian elephants. It is high in fiber and low in protein; a perfect plant for elephants and one of their preferred choices in the wild.
December 18, 2008
Ned decided that he no longer liked his probiotics inside apples or oranges. It is always a challenge to get medicine in an animal that decides they don’t want it. Elephants can be especially challenging because of their keen sense of smell and aversion to unpleasant tastes. So today Ned’s caregiver tried a new recipe: a sugar free maple syrup and probitoic paste sandwich…Ned loved it!
December 17, 2008
For the past few days, Ned has not been feeling well. He is eating, but not as much as he had been for the past few weeks. The vets are prescribing remedies to help relieve his symptoms—reduction in appetite and loose stools, while they continue to study lab results in our on-going effort to identify what exactly is plaguing Ned. He is not very patient with his condition; he definitely wants us to know that he is feeling a little out of sorts. He tosses hay and shavings in our direction just in case we have not noticed that he is not feeling well. We can’t help but wonder how long Ned’s suffering went unnoticed. It is so hard to see him go through this; we want desperately to discover the problem so we can fix it. This afternoon, after a dose of chamomile, Ned calmed down, no longer anxious or agitated. On a positive note, he is eating, drinking, and continues to be active.
December 16, 2008
Ned has been stepping on and off the scale and has even been found standing in the chute on the scale on several occasions over the past several days. Unfortunately, as soon as Ned sees someone come inside his barn he moves off the scale, mostly out of curiosity about the caregiver’s arrival. Finally, today, when Ned was found standing on the scale, he remained in the chute long enough for the caregiver to read the display screen and record his first weighing at the Sanctuary. Ned weighed in at 7265 pounds. Now many of you will be surprised and maybe even concerned that Ned has not gained weight. But we are not concerned because we see how much better he looks. His belly has filled out because now it is always full, his eyes are bright, he is continually active and he is eating. Once we identify why he is not absorbing nutrients and calories we are confident that Ned will begin to put on weight.
December 12, 2008
Over the past two days Ned has experienced a mild stomach ache. We try not to fret over him too much, as we don’t want to make him more uncomfortable by our concern, but the truth is we can’t help but worry about him. Luckily, his symptoms were mild. He may have thought we would not notice, but he soon discovered we make it our business to know if he is not feeling well. He reduced the volume of food he ate but he continued to eat a reasonable amount. He also continued to drink and remained active. After receiving a homeopathic remedy yesterday, Ned seemed to relax and just before his 5pm feed he lay down and went to sleep. We don’t often see Ned sleeping, so we kept an eye on him to be sure he was ok. Over the next few hours he slept peacefully, breathing normally. The remedy appeared to bring him relief. Around 11pm he awoke, refreshed and calm, and ready for dinner. This morning he was back to his curious, confident self, ready to go outside and explore his yard and forage in the woods. Around noon, Ned was seen with branches of a hickory tree draped through his mouth and over his head. He was feeling much better, fully engaged in his outdoor activity.
December 8, 2008
Ned was the focus of two programs delivered at local schools in Hohenwald today. The students were given an introduction followed by a short video of Ned’s arrival; the students were captivated. Following the video, the students participated in a lively discussion regarding Ned’s condition, confiscation, and recovery. When we passed around photos of Ned 30 days after his arrival the students commented that “you can’t see Ned’s ribs like in the video”, “he has a fat tummy now”, “he looks like he is smiling”; all were impressed by the obvious improvement in Ned’s condition.
Ned after one month at The Elephant Sanctuary
Ned — one month ago!
December 7, 2008
Ned was in and out all day today. He is always so curious and quick on his feet. When he saw Miai the dog sniffing around in his yard looking for discarded tidbits, he spun around and ran at her…half heartedly. Miai looked up to see Ned bearing down on her and nonchalantly exited his yard. As you can see, Ned is filling out; at least his stomach is full. His appetite has remained constant and his attitude is quite light and playful.
December 5, 2008
Ned ran outside after hearing Minnie and Lottie engaged in their reunion vocals, bellows and squeals highlighted by soft flowing trumpets, as they found each after a 20 minute separation. They always enjoy getting lost and finding each other again. Ned seemed quite interested in the commotion. Many people have commented that Ned appears to be tuskless, but actually he has small, rather unhealthy, tusks hiding under his top lip. When he raises his head you can get a glimpse of the tusks. Although most have tusks, some male Asian elephants are naturally tuskless. Only time will tell if Ned’s lack of significant tusks is natural for him or due to poor nutrition.
December 4, 2008
The weather is very inconsistent this time of year. Last night at midnight it was a comfortable 55 degrees, but by this afternoon the temperature had dropped to 35 degrees. Ned appears to appreciate our open door policy; when the sun is shining he can go outside, follow staff as they walk down the road adjacent to his yard, even wander up into the woods. But when the clouds cover the sun and the wind picks up, he can turn around and seek shelter in his warm barn. Ned is getting comfortable putting both front feet in the chute, it’s a start. Once he steps all the way inside we will be able to record his weight because the floor of the chute is a scale. He continues to eat consistently and seems to enjoy the variety of foods provided.
December 2, 2008
This morning Ned was quite pleased when his barn door opened and he found that the sun was shining. He wasted no time going out and climbed the hill south of the barn. Billie-Sue was not there; she had ventured over to the lower pond and was not in sight, but Ned continued to climb up further into the woods and has been enjoying himself all morning. He has been testing the chute, one foot on, one foot off, but does not trust it yet. No problem; we are in no hurry. We can see that he is gaining weight and are confident by his eating behavior that indeed, he is recovering. As soon as he is comfortable enough to enter the chute and stand on the scale without stress, we will report Ned's weight gain.
December 1, 2008
Today was chilly and Ned spent the day inside, being bored. Even with the most attentive caregivers, life inside a building simply cannot meet an elephant's needs. Unfortunately, we do experience the odd day when the temperatures are considered too cold for an elephant in Ned's condition; he has no body fat and, as a result, can become chilled. Luckily the weather is seldom so extreme that the girls and Ned are unable to spend time outside. Our experience over the past many years is that the elephants will spend only 3-4 days inside the barns during the entire year; an acceptable trade off for the freedom and access to habitat they experience the other 361 days out of each year. Ned's CD was playing all day, was working overtime, and toys and bamboo were constantly being tossed into his stalls to help fight boredom.
November 30, 2008
Ned continues to surprise us; he is curious, has a good energy level and is spending more and more time outdoors. And, yes, he continues to eat well. The days have been sunny, which is a good reason for Ned to go outside, bask in the sun and forage in the woods. Billie Sue is getting quite accustomed to seeing Ned in the woods. Even if their relationship is at a distance, it is nice that Ned has another of his kind to see and talk to.
November 25, 2008
Ned has really gotten into a routine: an eating routine. He has discovered that the grass hay we give him is rather tasty and he is finally eating a fair quantity of it. He is a funny boy, quick on his feet, ever watchful of anything happening in and around his area. He likes to put on a big show, acting very protective of his domain. He can cross his yard in several gangly steps as his legs are so incredibly long. Today he dashed out to the middle of the yard and proceeded to investigate the empty feed containers left for him. They were empty because he had already eaten the treats, but he wanted to make sure. We are very pleased with Ned’s attitude and energy level and, of course, his appetite. He is finally eating his probiotics and vit/mineral supplements. He tends to be picky about new foods, but after a short time he acquires a trust and taste for new things. Ned’s caregiver is conditioning him to enter his chute and stand on the scale. As soon as this mission is accomplished we will announce Ned’s weight gain.
November 24, 2008
Ned and a caregiver have created a game that Ned seems to like. When Ned is hanging out in the barn for no other reason than he really does not have a clue what to do, the caregiver steps inside the barn, greets Ned excitedly, picks up a flake of hay from the hay wagon and invites Ned to accompany her on a jog around the yard. Ned has come to enjoy this silly game. He lifts his head and tries to get out his door before the caregiver gets through the people door. Ned does not hesitate; he is so graceful on his long, stilt-like legs, flowing across the ground so effortlessly. He rounds the corner of the small yard with the caregiver a short distance away in the big yard. He is comfortable with the yard now, but still has not gotten used to the feel of grass under his feet. Strange and kind of sad, but for reasons unknown Ned treads carefully on grass, just another thing for him to get used to. Today he played a game of chase with the dogs that were milling around in his yard; none take him too seriously. Then the clouds covered the sun and the wind picked up, Ned decided it was time to head back to the barn. Dr. Scott arrived a few minutes later on his weekly rounds and was very pleased with Ned’s progress.
November 22, 2008
The day warmed up nicely, and Ned wasted no time leaving the barn and spent time basking in the sun. We are trying to wean him off his preference for Bermuda as it appears to be a little rich for his system. We were told that Ned was fed Bermuda hay for the past few years at least. Living in Florida, coastal Bermuda is a locally grown hay so it is relatively easy to find. Since the hay does not have to be shipped in from another state it is also reasonably priced; much less expensive than hay shipped in from out-of-state. The problem is that Bermuda hay can be too rich for some elephants. When Asian elephants consume too much Bermuda hay, they can develop poorly formed stools which is an indication that the food is too rich. Caught early enough, a caregiver can provide browse and other less rich hay to balance out the elephant's system. If the condition goes undetected, the elephant can develop colic. We did notice that Ned was leaving the grass hay in preference of Bermuda and that his stools were softer than normal, so we supplemented yet another grass hay which he seems to like equally as well as Bermuda. In time, we hope to wean him off the Bermuda completely. Ned enjoyed the sun while it lasted and when the cloud cover blocked out the sun, he wandered back inside his barn.
After reading an excerpt from a book that talks about Ned's attachment to a tire, we gave Ned a tire to see what he would do with it. The other day after his barn was cleaned, Ned returned to find his tire outside the corral. He immediately reached through the pipe with his front foot, carefully inserting his foot in the hole of the tire, and tried to pull the tire through the two pipes...but the tire got stuck—it was too large to fit through the bars at that angle. When Ned wandered to the other stall, the caregiver pried the tire loose and rolled it into the stall. Ned immediately retrieved the tire and placed it protectively under his belly. I guess you could say that Ned enjoys his tire, because today when he shifted from one stall to the other he made sure he brought his tire along. He walked slower than usual as he moved from one stall to the other because he was sliding the tire along with one of his back feet, keeping it directly underneath him. With it safely under his belly he proceeded to eat the fresh hay laid out for him.
November 21, 2008
Nearly a thousand well wishers have posted messages to Ned since his arrival just two weeks ago. Each message is filled with compassion and concern for Ned's well being. These well-wishers have not met Ned face to face, yet they have been profoundly affected by him. Some zoos would like us to believe that elephants must be viewed in person in order to inspire people towards conservation, yet Ned's well-wishers disprove that assumption. It is true that we are living breathing creatures with five senses, and that we experience life through these senses. And, yes, it is a thrill to see a live elephant; but a deeper, more profound experience is had when we do not see the elephant, yet connect to him or her with our heart. What these many hundreds of people so lovingly demonstrate is that they did not have to see Ned to feel for him; it is only through the experience of the heart that we experience true compassion and empathy.
This is one of the hundreds of touching messages sent to Ned. This young woman is a shining example of our hopes for the future; her love is pure and her heartfelt connection inspirational.
My aunt showed me your pictures and we love you. I bought a watermelon for you at the store but you too far away to eat it, so we are sending you $20 to buy melons at your store by your house. I hope you can buy 5 or 4 melons and give one piece to the dog friends. I love you very much and hope you get better soon
Love, Erica L. second grade, North Carolina .
November 20, 2008
Ned today (after just 2 weeks!)
Ned two weeks ago when he arrived
Might we be seeing the beginnings of a belly here? Over time Ned's transformation will be staggering as he puts on weight, replacing bare bones with muscle mass. In two short weeks an improvement is already visible.
November 19, 2008
Today when Ned was up in the woods he saw something familiar — a fully filled-out version of himself. Although this likeness was shorter and indeed more robust, he could not help but recognize himself. Ned was standing 20 feet away from Billie-Sue, who also was exploring the wooded area south of the barns. Although a double fence system separated the two, Billie reached out in Ned's direction curious of the newcomer. Ned froze, curious, and looked directly at Billie but neither uttered an audible word.
November 17, 2008
We are happy to report that Ned is doing great. Dr. Scott visited this afternoon and remarked that Ned was looking very bright and relaxed. He continues to eat in a healthy constant manner, enjoying variety that will definitely help in his recovery. His rumbling is now a common occurrence and he is so attentive, and not in a guarded way. He really wants to be in the middle of any activity, so he tends to follow his caregivers around, watching what they do. He takes great pleasure drinking from the stream of water coming from the hose when his barn floor is being washed. His energy level is up and his anxiety is way down.
A comment was submitted on Ned's page the other day from a person identifying himself as a 75-year-old person who would die if he had to retire. He stated, "You are killing Ned with kindness. He does not need to retire, he needs something to do like push logs around." Our perspective is that Ned has retired from his previous life and is now convalescing. When he completes his recovery and regains his health, we know that Ned will be knocking trees down and pushing logs around, the difference being that he will be doing it for his own enjoyment, not to entertain a circus audience.
November 16, 2008
2:25 p.m. - Ned just wandered out of his barn and up the hill into the woods. He is curious, but aside from doing a full body scratch on a tree, he seems to be lost as what to do with himself. While taking this picture, the caregiver noticed that Ned was dozing off; he has figured out that the woods is a good place to take a nap.
November 15, 2008
Ned seems to be really settling in. His eating pattern has become dependably constant. He does prefer Bermuda grass but will also eat the other grass hays provided. The biggest change we have noticed so far is his response to produce; at first he was tentative but now he loves all kinds. Last night he ate some new treats - snap peas and dried cranberries. He no longer hesitates to pick up any and all produce that is sent his way. He prefers carrots over potatoes, apples over oranges...today, bananas and watermelon got his full attention. He also has grown fond of fresh cut bamboo, a great source of fresh greenery and the staple of wild elephants in Asia. We are slowly increasing his grain supplement and are happy to report he likes his calf manna, a grain product that will help put weight on him. Finding the balance between providing the right variety and amount of food to help Ned recover must be weighed against the possibility of taxing his system with too much food too fast. Ned has shown no signs of stomach discomfort or colic systems. We feel fortunate that he is responding so well considering his condition upon arrival.
November 14, 2008
Ned had a great day. He ambled in and out of his barn all day, carrying groceries with him. Tonight he greeted his caregiver with a series of rumbles. Each time produce and grain were put in front of him, he rumbled; when the browse and bamboo were placed in his stall, he rumbled; when three varieties of hay where tossed his way, he rumbled; and when a watermelon rolled across the floor, stopping just inches from his trunk, he froze, glanced up and let out a gloriously long rumble. He is definitely coming around!
Ned went exploring first thing this morning, up the hill and into the woods—he is a very curious guy. After a short time, he came back down the hill to the hay and produce spread around his yard. He found a watermelon, stepped on in and began eating. Eleanor, one of the Sanctuary rescued dogs, had spied Ned's produce and wanted to help herself to a piece of potato. Ned stood calmly munching away on the watermelon while keeping one eye on the approaching dog. When Eleanor got closer than Ned felt appropriate, he spun and ran at her. What a sight; lanky-legged Ned racing at stubby-legged Eleanor the Bassett hound, running as quickly as her short little legs could. Eleanor dashed out of the yard, stopping just outside the corral. Ned ambled back to his groceries as Eleanor tried another approach. When Eleanor walked under the corral a second time, Ned raised his head and barked a vocalization at her. it was awesome; he was not intimated by the dog, he was simply setting boundaries. Eleanor froze at the sound, retreated outside of the corral again and plopped down on her belly looking for another approach to the prize potatoes.
Ned seemed to think this was a good game. He watched Eleanor and each time she tried to enter his yard, he would yell at her or run towards her. Her retreats seems less fearful and more frustrated that she could not fool this elephant. The two may prove to be good friends, we will just have to wait and see.
November 13, 2008
This morning there were footprints leading from the barn to the yard, fresh footprints, and since Ned is the only elephant occupying the bachelor suite, we feel confident in saying that he was exploring his yard this morning before his caregiver arrived. He is still spending a great deal of his time inside but he is calm and continues to eat his hay, so we are pleased. But the truth is that Ned does not eat with the gusto of a healthy elephant; his finickiness about food is uncharacteristic of his species. Luckily, we have a wide variety of foods to offer Ned, which has ensured he eats a fair amount, and we are determined to discover what ails him. His blood work indicates poor diet, his fecal sample has come back negative, his RT test tell us that he does not have TB, his chewing is normal and he does not have a cough or runny nose. He never postures as if he has a stomach problem and shows no signs of arthritis. The only physical complication that is visible is the partial paralysis at the base of his trunk. We will continue to perform all available tests until Ned's condition is discovered.
Late this afternoon, shortly before sunset, Ned came ambling out of his barn, walked a short distance into the yard and ate the produce that was left there for him. He watched some vehicles leaving the employee parking lot and kind of surveyed his surroundings. Tonight at the 10pm feed, it was obvious that Ned had lain down to sleep. This is welcome news; he feels safe and comfortable enough to lie down. Eating and sleeping; this is a good start.
November 12, 2008
From the opposite side of the corral gate, Ned tentatively reached out to a caregiver who, in return, reached her hand out to him. Ever so slowly he extended his trunk, the tip trembling slightly. He recoiled when the tip of his trunk made contact with her finger, but immediately made the effort to reach out tenderly again. Slow steps building confidence; it is a two way street and one that need not be rushed.
Ned had such a good day. He was relaxed, eating well and drinking. He loves his fresh cut bamboo but it appears that cabbage and broccoli are his favorite produce…….today. Over the past 24 hours he appears to have really settled in. He is now consuming more hay; the volume has increased and he eats continually. We received one of his blood test results today; Ned’s Immunochromatographic (RT test) for Tuberculosis was negative. This relatively new blood test detects exposure to TB, negative results mean he has never been exposed and does not suffer from the disease which is great news for Ned.
November 11, 2008
9am - Ned is continuing to sample all the different types of hay we have to offer: Bermuda, millet, and a timothy and grass hay mix. Even though he is not eating the volume of hay that we would hope, he is still showing a reasonable interest in eating.
12:15pm - Ned went outside, less fearful of leaving his barn. He explored a bit more and rubbed his head on a tree branch. He then saw Billie Sue up in the hill playing in the trees and with that, Ned had to head back to the security of his barn. He has come out of the barn a couple of time since and seems to be fairly comfortable.
November 10, 2008
10pm - Ned was rather sleepy this evening; dozing standing up, his eye lids fluttering and his trunk draped over the top rail of his inside corral. He did not eat as well today as he had yesterday but hopefully it is just a matter of him settling into a routine. Perhaps what he needs is a good night sleep so that tomorrow he can focus on the joy of eating.
2:30 - Ned went outside to explore his surroundings, but he was incredibly insecure. It was painful to watch him struggle to find the confidence to even walk out of the gate into the larger enclosure. Once out in the yard he kept looking back towards the barn with a concerned look on his face. We gave him some of his favorite foods and walked with him around the perimeter of the yard. At one point he saw Miss Billie in the distance and froze, lifted his head and then glanced over at Scott standing a few feet from him. Ned headed back towards the barn, stopping to eat the grain and produce Scott had left for him, before heading back to the security of his private suite. It is painful to watch how insecure Ned is. Instead of being on the top of the world, a male elephant in all his glory, he struggles to find the confidence to enjoy a simple walk around the yard. We know that with time and caring Ned will develop trust and self confidence and fully recover from his past trauma.
1pm - Dr. Scott examined Ned today before he went into his new yard. One of the entries in the report was a notation on body condition. Using a scale from 1 to 10, Ned was a 2. Not a good rating but we were not surprised; Ned has nowhere to go but up!
Ned devoured the fresh cut bamboo and assorted fruit left for him last night. He had decorated his barn with the most interesting piles of fluffed up hay. He appeared well rested and curious this am, ready for his breakfast and a fresh pile of hay. When it came time to close the steel gate for cleaning, Ned was much less concerned compared to last night. He was leery, but continued to munch on his produce as the gate closed. It is a sunny day and the temperature is climbing rapidly so hopefully Ned will be going outside this morning.
November 9, 2008
Ned showed his first signs of fear tonight when the gate dividing his two stalls was closed for cleaning. Even though his caregiver tried to warn him against this new sound, he jumped and spun; you could see the concern on his face. The gate was stopped and started several times, giving Ned a chance to get used to the sound. Each time the gate moved a few more inches, Ned showed less fear. The gate noise was quickly forgotten when he got a new treat, bamboo. He walked across the barn to see what had been placed on the floor for him. After taking a tentative sniff, he grasped one stick of bamboo and pulled it through the bars and proceeded to stuff it into his mouth. Watermelon is now a familiar treat, but he did not eat his immediately; he waited until all of his grain was gone and then he struggled to pick up the slick, hard-to-grasp fruit. Finally succeeding he plopped it into his mouth and chomped down, juice flowed from his mouth onto the floor along with more than half of the broken watermelon. It did not take long for him to gather up the fallen pieces, finishing off the whole thing in seconds.
Ned is now interested in any foods we provide. For dinner he ate his fresh mixed grain with molasses, assorted vegetables and more hay. He does the cutest thing, fluffs the hay up, sort of lifts it and whips it over and over until it is a fluffy pile. Then he pushes it a little to one side, out of the way, where it won’t get soiled. Smart boy. He also places one trunkful of hay at the roof of his mouth as he chews another, always a trunkful stored ready to be eaten.
Today Ned discovered what all of his sister before him have…pasture pals are full of great treats and they are fun to step on. Indeed, they are durable, but nothing stands up to the one foot crunch of the mighty Ned…two pasture pals flattened and I’m sure there will be many more. Anything to make the new comer feel at home!
12:30pm - Ned’s trailer pulled into the Sanctuary followed by a vehicle with many of the dedicated professionals who made his rescue possible. The trailer parked parallel to the barn in preparation for Ned’s unloading. The double side-doors were folded back against the body of the trailer, the inner gate opened, and then the safety bars were slid out one at a time; one, two, three, and Ned was free to leave. Within seconds, graceful as a swan, Ned emerged from the back of the trailer, cautious yet curious. He stood in the doorway, strikingly beautiful, looking a bit fragile and hauntingly thin. But there is something about Ned that suggests an inner strength. He took a few moments to access his new surroundings and then casually stepped from the trailer and walked directly into the barn. He is 9’6” tall, all legs, and weighs a mere 7260 pounds; easily a ton underweight. His protruding shoulder blades, spine and hip bones make him appear too vulnerable; you can easily count each of his ribs from 20 feet away. Mild tempered and attentive, he does notice everything around him. Once inside the barn Ned immediately started eating the grass hay placed in front of him and as of this writing, three hours later, he is still calmly shoveling hay into his mouth, content as can be.
7am – Ned slept comfortably. For breakfast he ate a few apples and carrots, a small amount of grain, and he drank reasonably well... He is a very quiet boy, not a rumble or a chirp out of him. He appears very calm, unconcerned but disconnected. He continues to eat his hay in a methodical manner
8am – Ned’s hay was refreshed and they are on their way
8:30am – Ned has crossed into Tennessee; he and his entourage are now in TWRA country, a comfortable place for all of us.
10am – stopped to refresh Ned’s hay and offer him more water. He stared munching on the hay immediately but he had no interest in the water. He ate a few carrots but showed no interest in the apples.
10:20am – they are on the road again
Update ETA – 12:30pm CT
November 8, 2008
The operation to confiscate Ned the elephants was executed by the United States Department of Agriculture and involved several professionals recruited for their expertise in veterinary medicine, elephant behavior and management, and elephant transport. Ned was placed under strict security by the department the moment the confiscation notice was served.
Ned is very compact from head to tail but quite tall and exceedingly thin. He appears to have some paralysis in his trunk and so far he has made no vocalizations.
10:00am - Ned loaded into our elephant trailer without incident. He was calm and cooperative. Once he was comfortably in the trailer the vet drew blood from a vein in his back leg. Ned remained calm throughout the procedure. The blood will be processed to determine his condition, including blood levels and tuberculosis status. Ned has never tested positive for TB but blood tests will confirm if he is indeed TB free.
10:30am – Ned’s supply of hay was refreshed and the trailer pulled out onto the highway
12:10pm – They stopped the trailer to check on Ned. He was doing well, eating slow but constant. Scott signed the paperwork provided by the USDA which transferred ownership of Ned to the Sanctuary. He is now officially a free bull!
2:30pm – Stopped at the Florida State Agriculture check in station. Once the paperwork was reviewed the trailer was directed back onto the highway. Ned remained calm and silent.
3pm – crossed the state line into Georgia
4pm – stopped for a short break. Ned continued to eat his hay. He was not interested in a drink of water but dunked his hay into the water before eating it. He was not interested in any of the produce offered, fiddled with it and then pushed the produce to the side but did eat a small amount of grain. He does not appear to have a very strong appetite. He is defecating and urinating normally.
6:30pm - stopped for another short break. Ned is a quiet, easy traveler and a very quiet boy. It is kind of sad that he shows so little interest in anything or anyone. Even the classic elephant trunk scent, a natural behavior that traditional is extinguished from performing elephants, is not present; not even a hint of desire to scent his surroundings. He was offered hay, grain, some carrots and apples but he still somewhat ignores the produce. Still steadily eating hay.
7:30pm – stopped to clean and feed. Ned was not interested in drinking. The decision was made to leave a container of water in te trailer with him so that Ned could drink through the night if he got thirsty.
10pm – Just North of Atlanta Ned is stopping for the night. Scott called with great news…Ned is drinking. We do not know what his drinking schedule has been in the past so perhaps only drinking once a day is what Ned is accustomed to. We are just relieved that he finally drank his fill. Fresh hay, a cozy warm trailer, and a quiet parking place will allow Ned to rest for several hours. They plan to head out first thing in the morning. The estimated time of arrival to the Sanctuary is tomorrow at noon.