Dulary's Diary

Dulary's Trip Map

Dulary arrived at the Sanctuary safe and sound on May 1. She is now in the expanded Asian Habitat of 2200 acres with the 'founding' herd, where she is enjoying meeting her new sisters and exploring her habitat.


May 15, 2007

It has been two weeks since Dulary’s arrival; what a gem she is. Her days are filled with mini excursions, naps in the woods, and Misty’s constant companionship. Over the past week Dulary has often needed some me-time, but Misty does not understand the concept. Dulary gives her the slightest head gesture and Misty giggles, then Dulary acts more demonstrative, even using her foot to push Misty a few inches away, and Misty simply refuses to accept the suggestion that Dulary does not need her shadowing her every single moment of every day. Misty always wins out, or so it seems, since she spends all of her time racing back and forth between Delhi and Dulary. When she is lucky enough to have her two best friends side by side, she is ecstatic.

Dulary has wandered down a couple of the paths that lead out into the habitat and has spent a couple of nights sleeping in the woods. We keep hoping she will catch a whiff of the lake, but that has not yet happened. In the meantime, she is exploring her world adjacent to the barn and forging strong relationships with the other elephants.

May 5, 2007

The sky was clear and the sun was beating down. Dulary had wandered some distance from the barn so Scott took the mobile ele-water wagon out to Dulary. She appeared to be quite pleased with the service. She played non-stop for a good twenty minutes and was seen wallowing in the mud hole even after the empty water wagon pulled away.

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This was a good day for a grand adventure, and after only three full days of Sanctuary life Dulary was ready for more exploring. Her curiosity got the best of her as caregivers and dogs headed out towards the lake. Dulary dusted, grazed and played in a mud puddle as she made her way down the road that leads to the lake. She hesitated for a moment (but only a moment) as she passed through the open gate. She may have wondered why these people keep leaving all the gates open, but she did not waste any time; instead, she walked through the open gate and right up the hill. She loves the new grasses growing alongside the road and the mud was good enough to cover her body with, completely. When she reached the top of the hill the vegetation was more than she could resist, and that is where she stayed all afternoon and into the night. Another day in paradise.

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May 4, 2007

Today Dulary wandered away from Misty and Delhi and ended up near the barn. This was a great opportunity to see if Dulary was interested to coming inside to check out the barn. There was no urgency in her interest, but Dulary did enter the barn and stood on the outside porch for some time. She pulled out all the goodies in the treat toy that just happened to be in reach and then walked all the way inside the barn. She leisurely wandered around a couple of the stalls, ate some hay and assorted produce that had been spread around for her enjoyment, and then wandered back outside. Dulary is a gem; she is relaxed and confident and shows no stress when experiencing something new.

Dulary plays with the treat toy

Checking out the barn

May 3, 2007

This afternoon was another busy one for Dulary. She, Delhi, and Misty are already best of friends, and this afternoon she met Sissy and Winkie. Sissy is always completely submissive with other elephants, which endears her to them almost immediately, but Winkie has difficulty relating on a level other than dominance. Usually time and space is the key to Winkie bonding with new elephants and this will most likely be the case with Dulary as well.

Winkie approached Dulary, slowly maneuvering around her, curious but cautious. Sissy stood patiently, waiting for Dulary to notice her, and when she did they engaged in gentle trunk touches. The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent peacefully hanging out in the south yard together; Misty, Delhi, Dulary, Tarra, Winkie and Sissy.

It was really not a big surprise when late in the evening Winkie tested Dulary in a show of dominance. Dulary responded with resistance. They engaged in a pushing match, neither wanting to be submissive, both holding their own ground. The pushing subsided but Winkie continued to press the issue of dominance and this time Dulary did not engage. Dulary stood passively with Winkie at her side. After some time Winkie finally walked away secure in her status as the dominant individual.

Interestingly enough, not all elephants need to establish their dominance over each other. In fact, in this herd Winkie is the only individual that feels her personal security depends on her dominance; the others are motivated to be equals. One explanation for Winkie’s behavior could be her past traumas, another is hormone levels and also there is the issue of her low self esteem. Most likely it is a combination of all three causing Winkie to protect herself from imagined threats that exist exclusively in her mind. Caregivers were with Winkie and Dulary the entire time, encouraging and reassuring them. Dulary continued to eat and dust during and after the confrontation, she handled Winkie like a pro.

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Dulary takes a nap

The past three days have been filled with new adventures and blossoming friendships for Dulary. Finally, her need for sleep caught up with her. The amazing thing is that less than 48 hours after meeting the first Sanctuary resident, Dulary felt comfortable enough to lie down and sleep in their presence. Misty adores Dulary and stood over her as she slept, obviously providing the sense of security Dulary needed to have a restful nap.

May 1, 2007

Dulary and Tarra
Dulary and Tarra

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After more than four hours of waiting, Dulary finally left the trailer and set all four feet firmly on Tennessee soil. But she did not stand still for long. The minute she touched ground she was interacting with elephants, sampling the vegetation, dusting and exploring.

Tarra caught her attention right away; in fact Tarra was the reason Dulary left the trailer. After a brief interaction with Dulary still standing in the trailer, evaluating Tarra’s intention, Tarra walked away and Dulary stepped right out of the trailer and hustled after her.

With Dulary in hot pursuit, Tarra hesitated long enough for Dulary to catch up and they both burst into vocalizations and gentle trunk touches. They were immediately comfortable with each other with Dulary following whenever Tarra moved. The two could not get enough of each other…and then Dulary discovered the vegetation…and dirt…and trees…and the exploration began. Every few minutes Dulary would look around to see where Tarra was and rejoin her to share more chattering and touches.

Then Dulary decided to check out the area on the far end of the barn. She grazed her way down the elephant trail until she came to a cross roads; to the right was the north road where, several miles away, Bunny and Shirley were engaged in their own habitat exploration, and to the left, the road that leads to the lake. How exciting it was to see Dulary start out on the lake road…all by herself.

But then it was time for Dulary to meet two more sisters. Delhi and Misty had been patiently waiting, literally for hours, to meet Dulary, so when Dulary turned around and headed back towards the barn, Misty got very excited. With much composure Misty approached Dulary. With Misty and Tarra on either side, Dulary was showered once again with sweet affection from both.

Dulary noticed Delhi at the water trough and without hesitation headed over to greet her. Misty, in a show of over-protection for the elder of the herd, raced over and squeezed between her old friend and new friend, but Dulary took no offence; Delhi and Dulary were still able to interact and the introductions were complete. Since this time, Dulary has remained in the constant company of her new sisters; eating, napping, sharing affection, and exploring her new habitat. Her assimilation into her new life has been remarkably instantaneous.

5:37 p.m.
As Dulary was backing out of the trailer, Tarra came up to see what was happening—Dulary was a little uncertain about that, but after she realized that Tarra just wanted some of her food, everything was OK. Dulary followed Tarra and they have been playing ever since!

2:30 p.m.
Dulary has arrived, safe and sound. She took a bath in the trailer where she remains, enjoying the sights and sounds of her new home. She is munching on lots of hay and three of her new sisters wait anxiously—Misty, Delhi, and Tarra.

7:30 AM
Dulary is on her final leg of her journey home.

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April 30, 2007

11:45 pm
At an undisclosed location outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, Dulary settles in for a well deserved nights rest. She has traveled well and remains attentive and affectionate. No doubt she will sleep well tonight. By 7:30am tomorrow morning Dulary and her entourage will be on the road, heading for home.

Dulary and friends just crossed into the state of Tennessee, south of Bristol. They are making excellent time and Dulary has been an exceptional traveler. Jen, one of her keepers from the zoo, has been traveling with Dulary and checks in on her regularly with Scott at her side. Dulary’s behavior towards Jen is affectionate but not needy; just the response we had hoped for. She is dealing with the move well. In two hours they will stop for the night and Dulary will have many hours to rest and prepare for the remainder of her trip.

......late afternoon.....

4:45pm - Roanoke, Virginia
For years Dulary habitually took a short nap in her zoo yard every morning before noon. This has been her pattern for as long as her keepers can remember and is one of the most endearing things to her zoo family. We knew that Dulary might be a little tired this afternoon, since she would miss her constitutional nap, so at 4:45 the convoy stopped so that Dulary and her entire entourage could take a short nap. The break was appreciated by all, especially Dulary.

......and earlier......

Dulary wasted no time walking right into her transport trailer this morning as soon as she was given access. It was really no surprise that Dulary calmly walked right into the trailer without so much as a hesitation. This is such a tribute to the sense of trust Dulary has in her caring staff. Zoo staff is traveling with Dulary, continuing to provide her with the security that will ensure she has as stress-free a trip as possible. Scott Blais was on hand for the loading and is traveling in the rig with Dulary. He reports that she is traveling extremely well, not swaying, is eating well and demonstrating a serene calmness befitting a queen. Her estimated time of arrival at the Sanctuary is tomorrow around noon.

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April 29, 2007

It was another promising day for Dulary. She was given access to the trailer and this time she showed no reservation at all. Calm and confident Dulary walked up to the trailer and placed both front feet on the ramp leading into the trailer.

Dulary inspects the trailer

A goodbye party was held for Dulary. A visitor at the zoo documented the well-wishes of many of those who came to celebrate.

Goodbye, Dulary

Best Wishes for Dulary

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April 28, 2007

Dulary inspects the trailer

The elephant transport trailer arrived at the zoo yesterday. Before the driver could get the trailer in place, the tractor got stuck in some soft earth behind the elephant yard. After a collective effort which took four hours, several men, a tow truck and another tractor, the tractor hauling Dulary’s trailer was unstuck and her trailer was backed into place.

Dulary had a chance to see what all the commotion was about first thing this morning. By all reports she was inquisitive. Then it seems she preferred that the intruder be removed, so the gate leading from her yard to the trailer was closed. Sometime later the gate was opened again and she seemed more relaxed about its presence.

A zoo visitor sent these photos of Dulary investigating the trailer and later taking her signature swim in the pool, what a doll!

Loves the water!

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April 27, 2007

Dulary as a baby


This baby picture of Dulary (only a few months old) was provided by the Philadelphia Zoo. The photo was taken soon after her arrival in 1964 and clearly documents her early affinity to a swimming pool full of water!





April 26, 2007, 6pm

Message from a staff member:

As I arrived at the Sanctuary gate leading into the newly expanded Asian elephant habitat, I saw something unmistakable. Directly before me were large tire tracks leading from the gate out onto the adjacent county road. These were very large muddy tire tracks. The familiar red-orange tracks were caused by a vehicle which recently had driven on the churt road leaving the Sanctuary. Churt is a rocky substraight that for years has been used to pave roads throughout the county.

After a rain, this clay-filled Tennessee pavement covers your tires, leaving a trail wherever you drive. Tears sprang to my eyes as I realized exactly what this rainbow of tire tracks meant; Angie (the elephants’ favorite transport driver) had picked up the Sanctuary’s transport trailer. Suddenly, Dulary’s arrival was made real; the many details we are still juggling and the entire behind-the-scenes effort came to life completely. Through my happy tears I began to follow these tracks out of town, but they soon faded away, as the tires were washed clean by the gentle rain…these vanished footprints mark the real beginning of beautiful Dulary’s journey.

April 24, 2007

Carol visited Dulary at the Philadelphia Zoo today and found her in great health, surrounded by a qualified and caring staff. The weather was perfect and Dulary appeared to be quite comfortable in her surroundings. She even settled in for a short nap while a zoo full of visitors looked on. At one point, Dulary came over to investigate close enough for a few photos to be taken before she was off again to explore her yard. Dulary appears to be a very calm and confident individual. She is in good physical condition and her feet show no signs of disease. Her physical and emotional condition suggests that Dulary’s ability to enjoy Sanctuary life will be limitless. The zoo staff could not hide their excitement over Dulary’s future.

How fortunate Dulary is to have experienced such a loving family at her zoo and soon will join another equally caring family at the Sanctuary. In an instant the love that surrounds her will double! We are so pleased that Dulary is one of the lucky elephants that gets to have it all.

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